KIDNAPPERS MAKE CONCESSIONS [Archives:2001/35/Front Page]

August 27 2001

Intense mediations from the Mareb Sheikhs to ensure a safe and quick release of the German diplomat, Rainer Berns, 55, have started yielding positive results.
The kidnappers disclosed a few days ago that they are willing to give concessions regarding the amount of money demanded as ransom. They said that they are in the process to reduce the ransom demanded from USD 1 million to as low as USD 200,000. Their final amount is yet to be disclosed.
This comes at a time when tribal sources indicated that the kidnapped German is moving frequently from one hideout to another in an attempt to avoid any siege by the Government security forces.
Even though the kidnappers are still unidentified, it has been revealed that a number of Islamic Jihad Movement members were involved in the kidnapping. However, the movement’s leaders denied direct involvement in the incident. They did confirmed that the suspects in the kidnapping, Mohammed Al-Zaidi, plus others are indeed members in the movement.
Colonel Naji Al-Sufi, Mareb Governor, met last Friday with Sheikhs from the governorate and discussed possible means to set the diplomat free in a safe manner.
The Ministry of Interior had in the evening of the same day asked for releasing the kidnapped within 24 hours, otherwise, the Ministry added, certain tough measures would be carried out. However, the Ministry did not specify whether force would be one of the options.
The recent concession given by the kidnappers resulted in optimism that the kidnapped German will be released within the next few days.
Berns was kidnapped by armed militants on 27 July 2001 on the 60-Meter Street after returning from the airport.