The fate of two abducted Finnish and an Austrian remains unclear

Published on 24 December 2012 in News
Amal Al-Yarisi (author)

Amal Al-Yarisi


SANA’A — Investigations are underway regarding the abduction of two Finnish citizens and one Austrian citizen who were kidnapped Friday by unidentified armed men in the capital city.

Musa’d Al-Dhahiri, the deputy manager of the Tourism Police in Yemen told the Yemen Times that they have been in constant contact with the security office to try and identify the kidnappers.

He added that it is still uncertain whether Al-Qaeda is involved in the abduction.

“All abduction-related issues are currently under review. There will be no information disclosed until we gain access to more facts and set a structure for future processes,” he said.

Abdulfatah Shamsan, the manager of an Arabic language institute in the Old Sana’a, said that two of the  victims were taking classes there.

He identified the victims as a Finnish couple and an Austrian. The husband from Finland, was a student at the institute. But, his wife, who had just arrived in Yemen two days prior to the incident was not affiliated with the school.  The Austrian was also a student, due to depart Yemen in the next week, Shamsan said.  

The three were abducted while in Abu Murad Watch Store on Al-Qasr Street in Al-Tahrir district,  according to the shop’s  owner,  Saeed Al-Shaef and other eyewitnesses.

Saeed said they event occurred at around 5p.m. when three masked armed men in a black Vitara pulled up, forcing the victims out of the shop.

Shamsan Al-Makrami, a waiter in the Friends Cafeteria located in Al-Qasr Street, was also at the scene. He said he saw a traffic cop writing down the number of the car’s plate at the time of kidnapping.

Though witnesses say there was time for state security to instigate a search for the abducted westerners, they remain unable to determine their location, raising questions about their efficiency in tackling situations like this.

The Finnish Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement that a Finnish diplomat was sent to investigate the issue of the abducted couple in cooperation with the Austrian  Embassy.