Yemen: Tribes condemn abduction of foreigners

Sanaa, 1 July (AKI) - The elders of 260 Yemeni tribes have signed a document that criminalises the abduction and harming of foreigners in Yemen, the country's state media said on Wednesday. The elders - who come from the cities of Dhale, Mahara, Dhamar, Baidhaa, Lahj, Saada, Shabwa and Jawf - signed the document which also bans revenge, banditry and sheltering fugitives.

On Monday, hundreds of people gathered in the capital Sanaa to protest against the kidnapping of nine foreigners and the murder of three of them in north-western Yemen. The protest was organised by the country's tourism union.

A German family of five and a British engineer were abducted as well as two German women and a South Korean woman during a picnic in the country's restive province of Saada on 12 June.

Two German women and the South Korean teacher were killed three days after the kidnapping.

But the fate of the German family and the British engineer is still unknown.

Yemen has developed a reputation as a haven for Islamist militants in recent years and there have been several attacks there against western targets and abductions of foreigners.

However, most foreigners are abducted by disgruntled tribesmen and most have been released unharmed.

The tribesmen kidnap foreigners as a means of bargaining with the government either to secure the release of jailed tribe members, for jobs or improved living conditions.

Yemeni authorities have accused Shia Zaidi rebels in Saada but the rebels have denied the charge.

However, an Al-Qaeda group reportedly operates in the region where the bodies of the foreigners was found.

The bodies were discovered one day after Hassan Hussein Alwan, said to be Al-Qaeda's finance chief in Yemen was arrested by authorities.


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