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Two US tourists and driver kidnapped in Yemen

Other News Materials 25 May 2010 05:26 (UTC +04:00)
Two US tourists, a husband and wife, along with their driver were kidnapped by gunmen in Yemen on Monday, security and tribal sources said.
Two US tourists and driver kidnapped in Yemen

Two US tourists, a husband and wife, along with their driver were kidnapped by gunmen in Yemen on Monday, security and tribal sources said.

They were seized by armed members of the al-Shirda tribe as they drove on a highway linking the capital Sana'a with the Red Sea port city of Houdieda, security sources said.

"They were on a tour when armed tribesmen intercepted their car and took them," a police source told the German Press Agency dpa.

Tribal sources said the abductors are holding the pair now in Bani Mansour area of al-Haymah district, 45 kilometres to the west of Sana'a.

They said the kidnappers are demanding the release of a fellow tribesman detained by police in Sana'a over a land dispute.

Police erected check points on roads leading to al-Haymah and sent armoured personnel carriers to the area to press on the kidnappers to release the two hostages, witnesses said.

An anonymous source claiming to be in touch with the gunmen said the hostages were being well-treated, the Yemen Observer weekly reported.

The US embassy in Yemen declined to comment or confirm the nationalities of the hostages, saying it would issue a statement at a later time.

Last week, two young German girls were freed during a joint Yemeni-Saudi security operation. They had been seized - along with their parents, younger brother, two other German women, a South Korean female teacher and a British engineer - last year.

Kidnapping of Westerners is a common practice by Yemeni tribes, but it often ends peacefully.

Disgruntled tribesmen from impoverished areas of Yemen often take hostages to use as bargaining chips to press the government for aid, jobs or the release of detained fellow clansmen.

In 1998, an Islamic militant group kidnapped 16 Western tourists, four of whom died in a botched rescue attempt by police forces, and in 2000 a Norwegian diplomat was killed in a similar rescue attempt.

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