Talks continue to free three German hostages in Yemen

December 18th, 2008 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Sanaa, Dec 18 (DPA) Talks aimed at freeing three German hostages held by tribesmen in western Yemen continued Thursday as authorities added a new member to its negotiating team, one of the abductors said.”We met representatives of the government today, and discussed our demands with them,” the abductor, who requested anonymity, told DPA.

He was speaking from Naba’ah, a remote mountainous area in Khawlan district, some 60 km southeast of the capital Sanaa.

“We insisted to them that our demands should be met before the release of the hostages,” said the man, a member of the Bani Dhabian tribe.

“Until that happens, the Germans are our guests, and we intend no harm to them,” he added.

The man, who spoke via a mobile phone, said authorities added a leading tribal dignitary to its negotiators. He gave no further details.

Security forces were encircling the kidnappers’ hideout in Naba’ah, where the three hostages - an employee at the German Technical Cooperation agency (GTZ) and her parents - have been held since Monday.

Armed tribesmen from the powerful Bani Dhabian tribe kidnapped the trio and demanded the release of two relatives jailed in Sana’a over a previous kidnapping of five local engineers last year.

Police said five tribesmen led by Abdu-Rabu Saleh al-Tam were holding the hostages.

They said the kidnappers had demanded the release of al-Tam’s son and brother, who have been jailed at the central prison in Sanaa for abducting five Yemeni engineers and holding them hostage for six months last year.

Al-Tam also demanded authorities pay him 40 million riyals ($200,000) in compensation for a property in Sanaa, the ownership of which he disputed with an influential businessman.

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