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Kidnapped Saudi diplomat freed in Yemen

Armed Yemeni tribes
Written by Fakhri Al-Arashi

Armed Yemeni tribes

BY NY

Staff Saudi diplomat Said Al Maliki, who was kidnapped in Yemen by tribal leaders, was released on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011, after being a victim to force a solution in a financial dispute, a tribal source said. The kidnapping process took place in the capital Sana’a nearly by his house , when he was heading to his embassy.

Al-Maliki, was kept in a safe area in Bani Dhabyan mountains for 10 days, allegedly in a location five hours away from the capital. The kidnapers were trying to mediate an end to a political crisis over a transition of power in the Arabian Peninsula state.

They initially demanded $200,000 ransom for their release, but later they freed the hostages without conditions.   Armed tribesmen who sought to press the government to make concessions in the distribution of jobs and political posts have abducted more than 200 foreigners in the last 15 years, according to ReliefWeb, an on-line source of information on humanitarian emergencies and disasters.

The practice of kidnapping for ransom is not unheard of amongst tribes in this part of the region. However, Mr. Al Maliki’s kidnapping had apparently nothing to do with his diplomatic status. The Bani Dhabyan has kidnapped foreigners and Yemenis before.

In December 2008 armed men from the tribe abducted a German woman who worked with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) while she was touring the historical city of Rada’a with her elderly parents.

The source reported that Mr. Al Maliki was safe and in good health, and was released without “paying any ransom.”