Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yemen sees conflicting reports on release of foreign nationals

Chiara Onassis | 8 May 2012
SANA’A: Yemen’s Interior Ministry announced on Sunday in a statement posted on its website that it had managed to secure the imminent release of Saudi Vice-Consul to Aden, Abdullah al-Khalidi and Swiss school teacher Sylvia Abrahat within the next 48 hours.
The two foreign nationals were kidnapped in March by al-Qaeda militants to be then moved to one of the group’ strongholds in the eastern province of Shabwa where tribal sources and the Yemeni Intelligence services said they were being held.
An attack against one its diplomats infuriated Saudi Arabia, prompting an immediate suspension of the issuance of all visas to Yemeni and a ramp up in security in both Aden and Sana’a where the Kingdom have diplomatic missions.
Moreover, al-Qaeda militants announced that they wanted the Saudi Interior Minister to immediately free from jail its imprisoned militants, including several women as well as pay up a hefty sum of money against the release of al-Khalidi.
Although the Minister announced that his country would never negotiate with terrorists, it urged the Yemeni government to take all necessary actions towards the safe and fact release of its diplomat, demanding that a mediation committee bet set in place to begin the process.
Terror militants are now using the kidnapping of foreign officials to pressure the Yemeni government into complying with its financial demands as well as organizing exchanges of prisoners.
Sylvia Abrahart, whose health is said to be deteriorating, recently made an online appeal to her country, asking the authorities to give her abductors what they wanted, several millions of dollars.
Now, only hours after the Yemeni Interior Ministry announced that the tribal mediation committee had eventually reached an agreement with al-Qaeda, finalizing the last details of the foreign nationals’ release, terror militants denied the allegations.

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