An Egyptian Bedouin who took two American tourists and their Egyptian guide hostage in Sinai on Friday told the Associated Press he will kidnap more people if his demands are not met as Egyptian authorities today intensified efforts to secure the release of the two Boston natives, said CNN.
Jirmy Abu-Masuh of the Tarbeen tribe told AP by phone that the two hostages, a 61-year-old American man and a 39-year-old woman were fine and being treated as "guests" — Bedouins are known for their extravagant hospitality — but will be held until the Egyptian government frees his relative.
"If my uncle gets 50 years (in prison), they will stay with me for 50 years. If they release him, I will release them,” he told AP, vowing that if nothing is done, "I will kidnap other nationalities and their embassies will be notified for the whole world to know.”
For their part, Egypt's security sources today vowed to ramp up their efforts to secure the release of the two Americans and their Egyptian guide, CNN cited EgyNews as saying.
The three were taken hostage along with their Egyptian guide while traveling by car in central Sinai on Friday, said Agence-France Press.
More from GlobalPost: Egypt: Security in the Sinai Peninsula is getting worse
Such hostage-taking has been on the rise in the lawless tribal area in recent months, but captives are usually released unharmed several hours later. For example, two American females taken captive there in February were freed shortly thereafter, said Reuters.
However, the region has also become more dangerous lately. Israeli troops killed a man trying to enter cross the border illegally from Sinai last night.
Criss-crossed with swelling migrant routes, the area has seen an uptick in smuggling activity and serves as a crossing point for Palestinian militants from Gaza, according to AFP.
North Sinai Bedouin have also been increasingly vocal in demanding that relatives jailed under ousted former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak be released.
But the tribal community, whose distinct traditions and dialect set them apart from the rest of Egypt, are given little attention from Cairo, reported GlobalPost.
They also complain of being racially profiled by Egyptian security forces in the region. A group of them held a protest Sunday after two Bedouins were shot by police, reported Egypt Independent.