Monday, June 17, 2013

Yemen: Dutch Couple in Capital Missing for Several Days, Kidnapping by al-Qaeda Feared

According to The Associated Press, Yemeni security officials report that a Dutch couple may have been kidnapped from the capital of Sana'a.

The officials say police received a phone call that prompted them check on the couple in their apartment. They broke down the door after no one answered and found only the couple's dog.

Western sources said the pair was teaching at the Lebanese International University in Sana'a. Additionally, the wife was also working as a journalist for a Netherlands-based radio station. 

The couple had not been seen at the university since Tuesday (June 11), according to some of their students.

COMMENT: As al-Qaeda's franchise in Yemen has grown in strength, it increasingly is resorting to kidnapping in order to instill fear in the foreign community and to challenge the central government.

In the past, rural tribesmen have traditionally kidnapped foreigners in order to pressure the government to provide increased social welfare and assistance, but those days have dissipated, as al-Qaeda today poses a formidable threat to the international community. 

One of the longest kidnappings on record in Yemen involves a Saudi diplomat, Abdullah al-Khalidi, who is still being held by al-Qaeda after being abducted in March 2012 in Aden. The group is also holding a South African couple abducted in May 2013 in the central city of Taiz. 

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.