German tourists missing in Yemen [Archives:2005/907/Front Page]

December 29 2005

SANA'A, Dec. 28 ) Five German tourists have been reported missing in Shabwa province, some 460 kilometers (280 miles) from the capital Sana'a. The five German tourists who are from the same family (a man, who is presumed to be deputy of Germany Foreign Affairs, and his wife and three children) have been in Yemen since Dec. 24 according to German Foreign Ministry spoke man Martin Jaerger.

“They were traveling in a group, in which one vehicle fell behind,” Martin said. He added that the ministry had set up a crisis cell to deal with the case, which was attempting to acquire more information and establish relevant contacts. “We will do everything we can to find the family.” He added.

A government official stated to Reuters that Yemeni tribesmen seized five German tourists belonging to the same family on Wednesday in the third kidnapping involving Westerners this year. A Yemeni official told Reuters that authorities were negotiating with the kidnappers' tribe to release the Germans. However the kidnappers are demanding to free some members from the kidnappers' tribe who are in jail on criminal charges including murder. Other media sources said that the kidnappers belonged to Al-Abdullah bin Dahha tribe, some members of whom were arrested two months ago after a clash with another tribe. The bin Dahha tribe has accused the government of favoring the second tribe

It is worth noting that two Austrian tourists were kidnapped last week in the Marib region, east Yemen. Another group of tribesmen captured two Swiss tourists last month. Both kidnappings were aimed to put pressure on the government to free jailed relatives, and all tourists were released unharmed.