Political Analysis

Parents of Austrian hostage in Yemen post video plea

National Yemen

Austrian hostage

VIENNA: The parents of an Austrian student kidnapped along with a Finnish couple in Yemen late last year on Tuesday posted a video on the Internet, pleading for the captors to release their son unharmed.

In the emotional four-and-a-half minute clip published on Youtube, Dominik Neubauer’s father asked the kidnappers to show sympathy.

“In the name of the closest family of Dominik I appeal with all my heart for a quick and safe release of my son,” he said, adding “please have generosity”.

The video comes six days after Neubauer appeared in a clip on Youtube with a gun to his head saying his captors would kill him in a week unless Austria, Yemen and the European Union met their ransom demands.

Austrian authorities have confirmed the authenticity of that video but have refused to disclose the kidnappers’ demands.

Tearing up and covering her hair with a shawl, Neubauer’s mother said her son “respects and honours the culture of your country” and studies Arabic. “He is a good son who places high value on his family,” she said.

Neubauer was abducted in the capital Sanaa on December 21 along with a Finnish couple as they prepared to travel to the southern port of Aden via Yemen’s second city Taez.

In early January, Yemeni security officials said the Europeans were being held by Al Qaeda-linked tribesmen in the eastern Marib province.

Yemeni forces late last month suspended an offensive aimed at freeing the three Western hostages that cost more than 65 lives. Tribal mediators were allowed to attempt a negotiation with the kidnappers.

Most kidnappings of foreigners are carried out by members of the country’s powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government.

Hundreds of people have been abducted in Yemen over the past 15 years. Almost all have been freed unharmed.

Al-Qaeda militants, active in the south and east of Yemen, rarely carry out kidnappings, but a Saudi diplomat, Abdullah al-Khalidi, has remained in the hands of the jihadist network since his abduction in Aden on March 28.


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