Two foreign tourists kidnapped in Yemen

Updated: 2013-05-28 03:01


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SANAA - Two foreign tourists were kidnapped in Yemen's central province of Taiz on Monday, an interior ministry official told Xinhua.

"The two tourists are a couple and they are believed to be from South Africa," he said, requesting anonymity.

They were snatched by unknown gunmen in front of a hotel in Howban town of Taiz province, about 250 km south of the capital Sanaa.

Another provincial police official in Taiz told Xinhua that the kidnapped foreigners were also believed to be carrying US nationality.

He said the area of Howban was cordoned off as the police have been conducting a search on the abducted couple.

Foreigners are frequently kidnapped in Yemen by al-Qaida militants or tribesmen who asked for ransoms for the release of their jailed fellows. Most of the kidnapped have been freed unharmed.

Earlier this month, five hostages including three staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross and two Egyptians, were released two days after they were kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen.

On May 9, a Finnish couple and an Austrian man kidnapped by the al-Qaida militants in Yemen last December were released.

However, the Yemen-based al-Qaida wing, the most active terrorist network in the Middle East, is still holding a Saudi diplomat.