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Yemen Kidnappers Want Hostage Back

January 31, 1999

SAN`A, Yemen (AP) _ Yemeni kidnappers demanded Saturday that a German woman they had freed hours earlier be returned to them, security officials and tribesmen said.

The tribal kidnappers insisted they freed the 30-year-old aid worker only to deliver a message with their demands to the German Embassy, the officials and tribesmen said.

They threatened unspecified consequences to her mother and brother, who remain hostages, if she does not return, said security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The three Germans were kidnapped in northern Yemen on Tuesday by members of the Al el-Shaaby sub-clan of the Bakeel tribe.

Tribesmen close to the kidnappers said Saturday that in the message delivered by the hostage the abductors demanded the Yemeni government arrest of the alleged assassin of an el-Shaaby chief.

The aid worker, a midwife from the eastern German state of Saxony whose name has not been released, had been taken by her captors to al-Jawf in north Yemen, where a British couple and a Dutch family of four kidnapped on Jan. 17 are being held, tribal spokesmen have said.

Tribesmen, who control large parts of Yemen, frequently kidnap foreigners to gain economic concessions from their government. Hostages generally are well-treated and released unharmed.

However, last month Islamic extremists seized 16 Westerners in a kidnapping that ended with three Britons and an Australian being killed in a shootout with Yemeni soldiers.

The German government has appealed to the Yemeni government not to use any force to obtain the release of the hostages.

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