French tourists kidnapped [Archives:2006/980/Front Page]

September 11 2006

Yemen Times &Agencies
SANA'A, Sept. 10 ) Armed Yemeni tribesmen kidnapped four French tourists in the east of the country on Sunday to demand the release of their relatives from jail, said local tribal Yemeni sources.

According to Denis Douveneau, the deputy chief of mission at the French Embassy who addressed the media, the tourists were captured as they were heading to the southern port city of Aden.

The French envoy added that they received a phone call from one of the hostages “he told us they were being treated well and were healthy, physically and mentally.”

Elderly tribesmen began mediation efforts with the kidnappers, who were demanding the release of at least four fellow tribesmen jailed by the government for more than six months.

The sources said that the kidnapers are related to al-Abdullah, the same tribe which abducted and then released five German tourists last year.

Other news referred that the kidnapping happened in Shabwa province. Hussien Ashaal, a police officer in Shabwa province, where the tourists were snatched said that the Four tourists were kidnapped near Kasr Osiran and “we were informed they were French,”,, told Yemeni media. Kasr Osiran is a historic site popular with tourists.

Confirming they were French, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Paris said: “Our ambassador there is in touch with Yemeni authorities at the highest level and the Yemeni authorities said they are fairly confident that a solution will be found in the next hours.”

Scores of tourists and foreigners working in Yemen have been kidnapped over the past decade by tribesmen demanding better schools, roads and services, or the release of prisoners. Most hostages have been released unharmed.