Friday, January 27, 2012

Kidnapped Norwegian UN Worker Released in Yemen

A kidnapped Norwegian UN worker, 34, who was kidnapped by armed tribesmen in Sana'a (Yemen) on January 15, has been released by his captors unharmed.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry gave few details on the abduction, but thanked the Yemeni government for negotiating their citizen's release.

COMMENT: Foreigners have been kidnapped by tribesmen in Yemen for decades, largely to put pressure on the central government to make concessions to them for a wide range of demands. In the majority of cases foreign kidnap victims are very well treated.

Generally speaking, such abductions surround social welfare issues, but in this case the tribesmen had demanded the release of a comrade who was arrested after bombing an oil pipeline in Marib. It is unknown whether the Yemeni government yielded to the demand.

Such kidnappings are relatively common, which is why I always urge foreigners assigned to Yemen and a number of other countries to be thoroughly briefed on how to conduct themselves while in captivity and what preparations are necessary prior to such a misfortune.

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