Kidnapping [Archives:2001/33/Focus]

August 13 2001

Sadiq Nashir
The recent abduction of the German diplomat from Sana’a by an unidentified armed group the last Friday is not the first incident but of course will not be the last. However, it is the first to be wrapped up by all this mystery from the start of the incident which shocked all the people inside and outside Yemen.
Some people may say that what happened could take place anywhere in the world, and this could be true, but the kidnapping phenomena in Yemen is always an amusing thing, especially for the captives themselves. But unlike all the previous kidnapping incidents the abduction of the Commercial Attach√© at the German Embassy in Sana’a seems to be a prelude for a new art of kidnapping. It is apparent that the poor Rainer Berns has been the victim of professional murderers and not tribesmen seeking certain demands to be met by the government.
The German diplomat has been the victim of ignorance even in kidnapping. Hence, the abductors are an armed group who are willing to give a mew portrait for kidnapping in Yemen as they have tried to wrap up the incident with all mystery. Consequently, they did not leave any trace that could lead to their whereabouts although it could be so easy to disclose that the German national has been taken captive by them so that our German friends can feel assured on the safety of their diplomat.
Our German friends have the right to be so angry on the way their citizen was abducted and this really harms the good Yemeni-German relations. Likewise they have the right to express their concern over the destiny of their national which has made the German Foreign Minister, Jochka Fischer rush to phone his Yemeni counterpart to get reassured of his national’s health. On the other hand, the German Minister of International Cooperation & Development arrived in Yemen to conduct cooperation talks with Yemeni officials which as well have been dominated by discussing the destiny of the German diplomat.
In fact, the fault is not on the part of he kidnappers but on the part of the government bodies which are now paying the cost of their leniency with the kidnappers. The government has mistakenly thought that the chivalry and generosity of the tribesmen in treating the hostages will be always the same. As with exception to Abyan fiasco which claimed the lives of four hostages and the injury of many others in addition to the murder of a Norwegian diplomat in a separate incident during an exchange of fire between the abductors and the security forces, all the other kidnapping incidents ended peacefully.
The last two cases has forced the government to think twice of abduction and to work hard toward combating this harmful phenomena which has greatly distorted the image of Yemen overseas. And for sure the reason encouraging the abductors to go ahead in their outlaw acts is the leniency of the government itself.
Now briefly the ball is on the government’s court and it should tackle this phenomena seriously or otherwise many cases similar to the Abyan incident will happen again.