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South Yemen tribesmen kidnap Swede

world Updated: Oct 29, 2010 12:39 IST
AFP
South Yemen tribesmen

Yemeni tribesmen kidnapped the Swedish technical director of a cement works in the troubled southern province of Abyan late on Thursday, a security official said.

Four men abducted the Swede at gunpoint as he was leaving the plant in the provincial capital Zinjibar to travel to the main southern city of Aden, the official said on Friday.

The kidnappers are believed to be members of the Maraqish tribe, which has been campaigning for the release of a clansman who is on death row in the capital Sanaa, the official added.

Yemen's powerful tribes often kidnap foreigners for use as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government. Of about 200 foreigners seized in Yemen over the past decade, almost all have been released unharmed.

After the brief abduction of two US tourists in May from near Hajara, a village west of the capital which is famed for its historic mountaintop buildings, Yemen pledged tough action against kidnappers of foreigners.

The security forces had been engaged since mid-2008 in a "relentless war against abductions and those responsible for them... the kidnappers being as dangerous as terrorists," an interior ministry statement said at the time.

Yemen is the ancestral homeland of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and, with US military aid, the security forces have also been fighting a mounting campaign of attacks by the jihadist network's local affiliate.