ADEN, Yemen, AP -Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Sunday vowed to crackdown on foreign hostage taking in his country, a day after a former German diplomat and his family were released unharmed by armed tribesmen.
Juergen Chrobog and his family were kidnapped Wednesday in a bid by an eastern Yemeni tribe to win the release of a group of detained fellow tribesmen. They were released after Yemen’s government agreed to hold talks on the detainees, said negotiator Nasser Ba’oum, deputy governor of Shabwa province.
Saleh called the kidnappers “outlaws” and said they would be pursued.
“We will fight hostage taking like we fight terrorism,” he told the Chrobogs shortly before they were scheduled to depart Yemen for Germany.
On Saturday, the state-run Yemeni news agency, SABA, said troops had captured four of the kidnappers, but officials from their tribe said no one had been arrested and that the government was upholding its end of the agreement.
Chrobog told reporters Sunday that he and his family were treated well by the kidnappers. He said the men told him that they were not terrorists and they resorted to kidnapping because the government failed to deal with their problems.
“I told them that what they are doing is wrong and badly affects the tourism industry,” he said.
Chrobog, 65, served as deputy German foreign minister in the government of Gerhard Schroeder, which left office in November.
The kidnappers had demanded that the government release five members of their al-Abdullah bin Dahha tribe who are standing trial for allegedly killing two members of a rival tribe in October.
Tribesmen frequently kidnap tourists in an attempt to force concessions from the government in Yemen, a poor, mountainous nation on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula where state control in outlying areas is shaky.
Hostages are usually released unharmed, but several were killed in 2000 when security forces carried out a botched raid to free them.