Monday, February 25, 2013

Yemen: Kidnapped Austrian Citizen Appeals to His Government For Ransom Payment, Fears for Life

According to The Associated Press, Dominik Neubauer, an Austrian citizen who has been held by Yemeni tribesmen since December 21, along with a Finnish couple, has appealed to his government to save his life, saying his captors would kill him in a week if their ransom demand was not met.  The hostage did not state what the amount of the ransom was.

COMMENT: Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Weiss said Neubauer had been studying Arabic in Yemen.

Mr. Neubauer identified himself in the video, the date of his capture and appealed to the Yemeni and the Austrian governments and the European Union to pay his abductors the ransom.

Although all hostage experiences can be terrifying for the victims, most abductions by tribesmen are motivated primarily  as bargaining chips to pressure the Yemeni government to improve social services in their villages.

Roughly 90% of the abductions of foreigners results in their being released, although generally hostages are held only for a short time before there is a successful resolution. 

Thus, it is outside the norm for foreigners to be held for periods approaching three months, which is a basis for concern, as there have been a small number of abductions of foreigners that have resulted in injury or death, yet that is hardly any consolation to those hostages harmed.

What is interesting in this case is that the Finnish couple abducted with the Austrian did not make a similar plea.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.