Yemeni abductors reportedly move German hostages

18th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

A tribal source said members of the Bani Khawlan tribe, close to the Bani Dhabyan tribe from which the abductors come, had volunteered to take them food and water.

Sanaa -- Yemeni tribesman who kidnapped a German woman and her parents have moved their hostages after a military helicopter searching for them flew over their hideout, a tribal chief said on Wednesday.

"They have been taken by their kidnappers to a safer place," the tribal source said on condition of anonymity, adding that the move occurred late on Tuesday.

He said members of the Bani Khawlan tribe, close to the Bani Dhabyan tribe from which the abductors come, had volunteered to take them food and water.

However, he said no dignitaries from the remote mountainous area, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Sanaa, were negotiating with the hostage-takers, who were rejecting any concessions.

An official has said one of the kidnappers was demanding 200,000 dollars to recompense him for lost land and that police release his brother and son who were arrested four months ago over a land dispute.

A Western diplomat told AFP that the German embassy had asked the Yemeni authorities not to resort to force to free its nationals, who were seized on Sunday while they were on an excursion.

The pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat said the daughter had lived in Yemen for more than a decade and that her parents had visited her several times.

Yemen, the ancestral homeland of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and one of the world's poorest countries, is a strongly tribal country awash with weapons.

Its powerful tribes have abducted more than 200 foreigners over the past 15 years in a bid to extract concessions from the central government whose writ extends with difficulty over the lawless countryside.

All foreign hostages have been freed unharmed except for three Britons and an Australian seized by Islamic militants in December 1998. They were killed when security forces stormed the kidnappers' hideout.

In December 2005, armed Yemeni tribesmen captured a former German ambassador and foreign ministry number two, his wife and three children and held them for about five days.

AFP/Expatica

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