As the Kidnapping of the German Embassy’s Trade Attache Raises Concern about Security Conditions in Yemen: WILL KIDNAPPING EVER END? [Archives:2001/31/Front Page]

July 30 2001

The last kidnapping incident had resulted in overall concern about the security situation in Yemen and the inability of the government so far to deal with such issues. However, the government said it is willing to use more effective ways to stop this phenomenon. In a statement to Yemen Times on Saturday, the government threatened to use force to release Rainer Berns, 55, the Trade Attache of the German Embassy in Sanaa. “This time the government will act strongly and stiffly!” a high ranking Yemeni official said to Yemen Times. “The government will not show any leniency towards kidnappers and negotiate with them to release the hostage.” he added. He also confirmed that the internal security forces will settle the issue, hinting at the possibility of using force to release the German diplomat.
Official sources also revealed that the kidnapped diplomat is probably now in Al-‘Amas tribal area in the governorate of Dhamar, 100km to the southwest of the capital Sanaa. The sources added that the kidnappers, who belong to Al-Hada tribe, have not disclosed their demands yet.
Reports revealed that Saleh Al-Umaisi, a prominent Sheikh of Al-Hada tribe kidnapped the diplomat as a protest against an unfulfilled promise by President Saleh to give him a plot of land in the capital.
Official sources confirmed that the German foreign ministry has requested the Yemeni foreign ministry to achieve he release of the hostage peacefully if possible. The German hostage was picked up from Sanaa’s Al-Sitteen street at 8:30 on Friday morning by armed tribesmen. According to the German embassy, Berns was hit by a rifle on the back of his head because of the resistance he put up when he was snatched out of his car with his wife and children inside left in a state of shock while the kidnappers drove off with Berns towards the Al-A’mas region. The German government had earlier in the week announced that it had formed a special emergency committee to deal with this issue.
The incident caused Yemen’s leadership great embarrassment, perhaps resulting in the president’s return on Saturday night to resolve the issue.
This is the second kidnapping incident since May 2001. The last kidnapping incident of a German was that of Carl Christian, who was abducted form Sanaa on May 26-2001. He was released on June 23 after tribal mediation. Reports say that Yemen’s economy loses around 200million$ every year as a result of kidnappings.