Unidentified Person Contacts German Ambassador in Sanaa RANSOM OF USD 1 MILLION DEMANDED [Archives:2001/32/Front Page]

August 6 2001

A reliable source has confirmed that the kidnapped German trade attaché Rainer Berns made a telephone call to the German ambassador in Sana’a Werner Zimprich on Friday evening, assuring him that he was in good health. Meanwhile, immediately after his call, an unidentified person demanded one million dollars in return for releasing the German diplomat kidnapped on 26 July 2001.
Security authorities have up till now failed to locate the whereabouts of the kidnapped German diplomat nor the identity of the kidnappers. Many think that the hostage is being held at al-A’amas tribe, al-Hada area, Dhamar governorate. On the other hand the sheik of the al-A’amas tribe, Saleh al-Omaisi, has denied such allegations. Al-Omaisi also said that the tribesmen confirmed to high ranking officials at the Interior ministry that they were ready to hand over 50 members of their tribe to the government to verify that they had not kidnapped the diplomat. They also demanded that the family of the kidnapped man visit the area so as to examine whether any members of the tribe resemble the kidnappers, and also requested the family to examine the vehicles of the tribe and compare them with those of the kidnappers.
The family acquitted the tribe in all the allegations, mentioning that none of them appeared to be among the kidnappers and that the car was not at all similar to that of the kidnappers’. Meanwhile Sheik Saleh al-Omaisi demanded an apology from the government, as well as compensation for the false allegations. Sheik Saleh al-Omaisi told Yemen Times by phone that he was angered and disappointed with the way the security forces had harassed him and his tribe, based on groundless information. “They must arrest those who told them that the kidnappers were from our tribe. Security forces should not accuse just any group unless they have solid evidence. We demand compensation from the government for what we have been through.” he said. There is conflicting news on the whereabouts of the German diplomat and those who kidnapped him.
On the other hand security sources suspect that the person who masterminded the kidnapping incident was probably from the al-A’amas tribe, who just happened to be on board the same German plane from Frankfurt to Sana’a.
They think that he may have planned the kidnapping because while in Germany he was the target of blackmail, and so orchestrated the kidnapping in retaliation. Nevertheless more reliable sources did not confirm this version of events.
All in all, until now there is absolutely no concrete idea on the fate of the diplomat, who kidnapped him, or his exact whereabouts. This case remains a mystery, and in fact, as one investigator called it ” a mystery of mysteries !” Apart from that, all efforts at mediation actually seem be of no avail as long as the identity of the kidnappers remains unknown. ” How can they mediate with tribesmen who did not kidnap the German?” a member of the al-Hada tribe asked.