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Yemen: Kidnappings of foreigners on the rise

Three Europeans were abducted on a busy road in the capital Sanaa during broad daylight.

Yemen attacks 9 12 2012Enlarge
Yemeni security forces surround the wreckage of a car following a car bomb attack targeting the convoy of the country's defense minister in Sanaa, on September 11, 2012. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

There are multiple reports that a group of foreigners have been kidnapped in Yemen.

The Guardian said the recent kidnapping of three Europeans on a busy road in the capital Sanaa during broad daylight, is a sign of increasing unrest.

On Friday, two Finnish citizens and an Austrian were reportedly abducted by masked gunmen as the foreigners made their way to the tailor in busy central Tahrir Square, according to the Guardian.

"A black Suzuki Vitara pulled up and four men leaped out of the vehicle, forcing the foreigners into an electronics shop," shop owner Mohammed Abdullah said. "They seemed to be talking for some minutes in the shop before the car came back. A crowd had formed quickly, but the men were making threats with their Kalashnikovs and the car sped off [with the foreigners] towards the south of the city."

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An Interior Ministry official told Reuters tribesmen have claimed responsibility and are demanding a ransom. They are believed to be holding the group in Khawlan, east of Sanaa.

Kidnappings in Yemen are often used by local militants as a bargaining chip with authorities, Reuters wrote.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/121224/yemen-kidnappings-foreigners-the-rise