Three French reported missing in Yemen: security official

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Three Frenchmen working in Yemen were reported missing on Saturday in Hadramawt province in the country's southeast, a security official told AFP.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the men were reported missing on Saturday afternoon when they failed to return to their residence in Seyun, adding that "their mobile phones were suddenly switched off."

"Units of the security forces were immediately deployed to search for them," added the official, who said in response to a question that he could not rule out that the three had been kidnapped.

Foreigners have frequently been kidnapped in impoverished Yemen by tribes who use the tactic to pressure the authorities into making concessions.

More than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped over the past 15 years, and most have later been freed unharmed.

© 2011 AFP

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