Monday, June 8, 2009
Simon Cumbers Anniversary
Last Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the murder of Irish photo journalist Simon Cumbers (pictured) who was brutally gunned down by Al Quaeda while filming for the BBC in Riyadh. His British colleague Frank Gardner thankfully survived despite being shot six times. He is currently back working for the BBC as their security corespondent. All credit to him for not letting his injuries which have left him wheelchair bound end his career. I read Frank Gardner's fine book Blood and Sand which gives a chilling account of the killing. When the van with the gunmen pulled up to the two men the security personnel provided for Cumbers and Gardner immediately bolted. Simon and Frank then both ran in different directions. The exact moment of Simon's murder is not known exactly but because his body was found some distance from where Frank was shot it was thought he initially evaded his killers only to be cornered in a dead end street after unsuccessfully trying to get help from the locals. He was then murdered in cold blood. Simon Cumbers was a quiet unassuming family man who deserved better that to be hunted like an animal through the back alleys of Riyadh. According to the Saudi authorities all the gunmen involved in the shooting have been subsequently killed in various shootouts with the Saudi police. This incident is a powerful illustration of the Xenophobic and murderous nature of the Wahhabi sect of Islam practised by Al Quaeda and others in Saudi Arabia.