New Hopes in the Release  of the French Couple Soon [Archives:1999/35/Front Page]

August 30 1999

Almost two weeks have passed and yet the two French Diplomats who have been kidnapped in mid-August are still in captivity. The kidnappers have shown commitment to release the kidnapped last week. However, after President Saleh accused them of being traitors, and of being behind Al-Huraibi’s assassination last year, they changed their minds. The tribe’s village is currently surrounded by armed troops exceeding three hundred. The head of the kidnappers, Juzailan, refused the proposal of the mediators, headed by Sana’a Governor, Naji Al-Soufi, to release the hostages in return of having their demands delivered and discussed by the government. The tribe’s demands were the immediate withdrawal of the military forces surrounding them, providing the costs of repairing the damage to their bridge caused by floods, which is estimated to be YR 5 million, to be given a number of tractors and other agricultural equipment for the use of their people, and the hiring of 200 of their unemployed tribe members in the army. 
Until yesterday, on their part, the government has shown no signs of a concession for the kidnappers. Hence, the kidnappers are still holding the French captive which are said to be safe. 
French President, Jacques Chiraq, had personally called President Saleh expressing his concern about the French couple. The president had explained to the French President that their health condition is fine, and that tremendous efforts are being made to secure a safe release of the hostages. The latest news say that the tribe is in the verge of releasing the hostages after the mediation of number of Sheikhs including Sheikh Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Qadir from Khowlan. Reports say that negotiations are going smoothly and may result in the release very soon.