Yemen tribe holding kidnapped German

AFP , Sunday 2 Feb 2014

A German citizen snatched from the Yemeni capital is being held in a tribal region to the east, a foreign ministry official told AFP Sunday.

The man in his 60s was kidnapped Friday by a tribesman pressing authorities to release his two detained sons, the official said, adding that the German is being held in Marib province.

Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi and a German diplomat in Sanaa discussed "ongoing efforts by the interior ministry and security forces to secure his safe release and bring the abductors to justice," state-run Saba news agency reported Sunday.

The minister "expressed his regret over such acts that undermine the image of Yemen and its reputation," Saba reported.

In Berlin, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said a "crisis cell formed to clarify the situation is in close contact with the embassy in Sanaa and Yemeni authorities."

Hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past 15 years, mostly by tribesmen who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the government.

Nearly all have later been freed unharmed.

Al-Qaeda militants have also seized foreigners in the country, but such incidents are rare.

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