Security officials deny rumors that kidnapped Europeans are in Baida’a

Published on 17 January 2013 in News
Amal Al-Yarisi (author)

Amal Al-Yarisi

A Dutch woman who was kidnapped with her husband in 2009‭ ‬dances with Yemeni friends‭.  ‬They were released shortly after‭.

A Dutch woman who was kidnapped with her husband in 2009‭ ‬dances with Yemeni friends‭. ‬They were released shortly after‭.

SANA'A, Jan. 16 — On Wednesday, Field Brigadier Omer Abdulkarem, Sana'a's Security Chief, refuted media reports that Al-Qaeda had bought three abducted Europeans, a Finnish couple and an Austrian man, from tribesmen.

He also denied claims that the victims are in the Baida’a governorate, southeast of Sana’a.

Security forces in Baida’a have neither officially nor privately provided information about the presence of the three foreigners in the area, according to Colonel Hamood Al-Amari, Baida’a security chief.

“We are still investigating this matter, but we have no evidence that demonstrates the victims are in Baida’a,” he said.

Reuters news agency recently reported that an anonymous senior Yemeni official said tribesmen sold the abducted foreigners to Al-Qaeda.

Abdulkareem said the reports are merely rumors and that officials still do not know the location of the abductees, who were snatched from the Abu Murad Watch Store on Al-Qasr Street in Al-Tahrir district in December.

He said investigators are still trying to locate the victims,. They have not ruled out the possibility that they are being held in Sana'a, he added.

Security forces believe tribesmen would have already made demands if they were responsible for the abduction.

Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Marwani, head of Dar Al-Salam Organization for Fighting Revenge and Violence, also confirms a lack of evidence pointing to Baida'a.  He said they have contacted the committee affiliated with their organization in Baida’a, who say there is no indication that the kidnapped are being held there.

Al-Marwani does not believe Al-Qaeda is involved as they typically claim responsibility for their operations.  

The state-run Saba News Agency reported that President Hadi met with the Finnish and Austrian ambassador and told them a "rogue terrorist group" had abducted the three Europeans. He did not specify the name of the group.

“I will do my best to secure the release of the three abducted foreigners as soon as possible as I promised the representatives of the two countries they belong to,” Hadi said in a meeting recently with the ambassadors of Gulf Initiative countries and the Technical Committee for the National Dialogue Conference.

More than 200 kidnapping incidents have happened in Yemen over the past 15 years.

A Saudi diplomat and a female Swiss teacher are currently believed to be in Al-Qaeda's custody.