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German Oil Expert Kidnapped in Southern Yemen

Armed tribesmen kidnapped a German oil expert working for a giant gas exportation project in the southern Yemen on Sunday to press on authorities to release a jailed fellow tribesman, company official and tribal sources

The Sanaa city gate

German tourists have also become targets in the past

The official from the Yemen LNG company told DPA news agency that the German expert was abducted alongside with two Yemeni engineers from al-Rawdha area, around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from their project's site the Arabian Sea port of Balhaf.

"Armed tribesmen kidnapped the German expert and two Yemenis at around 3:30 p.m. local time in Shabwa," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

He said the German hostage works as a pipeline expert for Amecspie Hawk, a sub-contractor with Yemen LNG that runs the project.

Amecspie Hawk is building a 320-kilometer-long pipeline form the oil refinery in Mareb to the LNG exporting port of Balhaf. Tribal sources told DPA that the kidnappers are demanding the release of a fellow clansman, who is in police custody in the neighboring province of Abyan.

Latest in a series

The kidnapping is the third involving foreigners and the second involving German nationals in about a month. On Dec.15, three Germans were captured in western Yemen. They were released four days later. On Jan. 3, a South African mother and her two sons were seized by tribesmen in the southern province of Abyan. They were released a day later.

Disgruntled tribesmen from impoverished areas of Yemen often take hostages to use as bargaining chips to press the government for aid, jobs or the release of detained fellow clansmen. More than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped in Yemen since 1991. Almost all were released unharmed after mediation involving tribal leaders.

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