Yemeni tribesmen kidnap Norwegian to blackmail government
SANAA - Yemeni tribesmen have kidnapped a Norwegian citizen in the capital Sanaa in a bid to pressure the government into releasing a member of their clan from prison, a tribal source said on Sunday.
"A Norwegian was kidnapped last night from Sanaa and taken to the eastern province of Marib," the source said on condition of anonymity, adding that the tribe wants "one of their tribesmen to be released from prison."
The Norwegian foreign ministry confirmed that one of its citizens was abducted in Sanaa and said he was working for the United Nations.
"I can confirm that," ministry spokesman Frode Overland Andersen said, adding the man was aged 34.
The ministry refused to disclose the man's name or any other details of his disappearance, referring the matter to the United Nations.
The kidnapping comes two months after the release of a French aid worker and her Yemeni driver and translator who were abducted in the country's restive southern region on November 22.
All three were released unharmed two days later.
On November 14, three French hostages kidnapped by Al-Qaeda militants were also released after five months in captivity.
Tribes in Yemen often kidnap foreigners to pressure the authorities into making concessions. More than 200 foreigners have been abducted over the past 15 years, with almost all of them later freed unharmed.