Dutch couple 'disappears' in Yemen, said kidnapped

A Dutch couple living in Yemen disappeared in Sanaa, police said on Saturday, with press reports saying they had been kidnapped.

"The police commissariat in Sanaa learned on Saturday of the disappearance a few days ago of a Dutchman and his wife," a security official said on condition of anonymity.

Press reports said the couple, who had not been seen for three days, had been abducted.

The Yemeni daily Al-Yemen al-Youm, mouthpiece of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, reported that "unknown men kidnapped" the couple, without giving further details.

Western sources said that the pair were teaching at the Lebanese International University in Sanaa, adding that the Dutch woman was also a journalist working for a radio station in The Netherlands.

Another source close to the couple said they had last seen the journalist three days ago, and that they believed the pair had been kidnapped.

They had not been seen at the university since Tuesday, some of their students said.

It was not possible to contact the Dutch embassy in Sanaa on Saturday.

Hundreds of people have been abducted in Yemen in the past 15 years, nearly all of whom have been later freed unharmed.

Most kidnappings of foreigners are carried out by members of Yemen's powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government.