For the first time, a foreign hostage released by force unharmed Security Forces Succeed! [Archives:2001/50/Front Page]
Security forces were able to storm into the hideout of the kidnappers of the German engineer Karl Lienert and obtain his freedom on Saturday at 12:30 pm on December 8.
The rescue came after the forces surrounded the hideout in Wadi Dhana (Dhana Valley), located 70 km south of Mareb, and arrested one of the kidnappers named Ahmed Nasser Al-Zaidi. However, his three other associates Hassan Ahmed Al-Zaidi, Mohammed Nasser Al-Zaidi, and Saleh Naji Tuaiman were able to escape.
Violent confrontations occurred on the evening of last Friday between security forces and the kidnappers, who by that time were negotiating the possibility of releasing the kidnapped with Assistant Security Commander of the area Abdullah Mohammed Al-Zaidi. After the forces attacked the kidnappers hideout during negotiations, the tribal figures negotiating the hostages release protested with their withdrawal. The kidnappers tried to escape from their earlier hideout at Al-Mahjizahto region to another hideout at Wadi Dhana, but the forces were able to track them down and put them under siege.
Security forces initially launched an offensive with various weapons against the village of Serwah, thinking that the kidnappers were hiding in the village. Two soldiers were killed during the violence in the region after their vehicle crashed in the mountainous roads of the rural area of Mareb, but there were no casualties due to the military offensive, as families of the village had left before the attack of the forces.
This is the first such security rescue operation that resulted in the safe release of a foreign hostage and the capturing of at least one of the kidnappers.
A tribal source said that lack of cooperation of the tribesmen of Jahm with the kidnappers facilitated the mission of the forces in surrounding then storming the kidnappers hideout. The same sources denied that the kidnappers were Arab Afghans, as they have no connection to those Islamic groups unlike the previous kidnapping incident of the German Commercial Attaché, who was kidnapped by Arab Afghans belonging to the same tribe a few months ago.
There were no clear indications of the true demands of the kidnappers. However, sources close to Jahm tribe said that the kidnappers were demanding 21 million Yemeni riyals for the release of the German hostage.
More than 70 members of Al-Zaidi family were arrested following the incident. Among the arrested men who were later released was Hassan Al-Zaidi, a journalist working for Yemen Times.
This is seen by observers as a turning point in the way security forces will start handling kidnapping incidents, but do not hide their worry that this method may lead to casualties in the future and may not be as successful. There will be no tolerance whatsoever of any kidnapping attempts. We have supreme orders to launch aggressive attacks against kidnappers to have them arrested and taken to trial, said one of the security officials dealing with this incident. This signals more determination by the security forces to be extremely fierce and strict when dealing with kidnappings and kidnappers. There was also significant cooperation with security forces of several key tribal figures belonging to the tribe of the kidnappers who were condoned for their actions.
We will cooperate with the security forces in future incidents if they ever happen. But in return, we want them to pay more attention to our region, which lacks the basics of developmental projects, said a prominent sheikh from the Al-Zaidi family.