American Marta Colburn and her parents FREED IN 2 DAYS Government tactics getting better [Archives:1999/44/Front Page]

November 1 1999

SANAA: It was a completely novel experience for Mrs. Marta Colburn, the Resident Director of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies and her Father Don and Mother Gladyse who were on a visit to the country. After 2 days of captivity in the hands of the tribesmen of Iyal beni Jabr tribe, the kidnappers handed the hostages to the army chief of staff Abdullah Ali Alewah who had led the negotiation for their release. The government’s action in this incident led to the release of the kidnapped in a short time of less than 48 hours. Official sources claim that the reason behind this is that the government has stepped up its measures against kidnappers and has launched very strong campaigns against such activities that harm the national interest of Yemen.
Even though Marta’s old mother was exhausted because of the incident, the hostages who were seized on Tuesday, 26 of October and released on the 28th were not harmed by the tribesmen who had taken them from one hideout to another to escape the forces who surrounded the area for two consecutive days. Mrs. Marta hailed the government for its efforts that resulted in their rescue. The Yemeni government has shown promptness in this event which is a sign that it is not going to tolerate kidnapping incidents any further.
The president himself was deeply concerned about this incident and decided that forces should pressure the tribes until they release the hostages through negotiation. President Saleh’s decision of setting up independent courts for kidnappers in an effort to stop this practice which has far reaching consequences, has found a lot of support from various sectors of the community. It has also made the tourism sector feel optimistic for the future. It will certainly make a difference if the measures are activated and sustained.
Interestingly enough, Mrs. Marta Colburn continued her tourist journey with her parents even after the kidnapping incident. Mrs. Marta thus confirms that Yemen’s beauty and attraction can not be tarnished by such incidents.