Whereabouts of kidnapped still unclear but video footage released

Published on 25 February 2013 in News
Rammah Al-Alubari (author)

Rammah Al-Alubari


SANA'A, Feb. 24 —  A kidnapped man identifying himself as Austrian national, Dominik Neubauer, appeared in video footage posted on the Internet on Thursday, appealing to government authorities to fulfill demands made by his abductors, Yemeni tribesmen.    

Appearing in the footage with tearful eyes, he spoke both English and German with the barrel of what appeared to be an automatic rifle pointed at his face.

Neubauer said in a trembling voice that the tribe was asking a ransom for his release.

He begged the Austrian and Yemeni governments and the European Union to assist him and offer the kidnappers whatever they want. He said he would be killed within a week of the publishing of the video if demands were not met.   

Neubauer and a Finnish couple were kidnapped on December 21 from Al-Tahrir district in Sana'a by unidentified armed tribesmen.

Neubauer mentioned no details of his whereabouts or the fate of the other two Finns.

 Neaubauer and one of the Finns came to Sana’a to study Arabic.

Abdu Ghalab, the director of the Tourism Police, told the Yemen Times that security forces have not been able to locate the three Europeans.

Media outlets have reported that a spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday  that the government was acting on the assumption the video was genuine, and was in intensive contact with the Yemeni authorities and also with the Finnish government.

“This is the first sign of life we have from Mr. Neubauer,” the spokesman said.

 “According to our information, no similar threat has been published to the Finnish couple,” a spokesman for the Finnish Foreign Ministry told media outlets

“The time limits are common in these kinds of demands, and often they are flexible. There is no need to draw too many conclusions over this.”