Yemeni tribes kidnap Russian doctor: official

SANAA Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:26am EDT

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SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni tribes have kidnapped a Russian doctor in the northeast of the country, an official told Reuters on Friday.

The doctor, who works in a hospital in Shabwah, was kidnapped on Thursday in the neighboring province of Marib while he was traveling to the capital Sanaa, the official said.

Kidnappings are common in Yemen and hostages usually are freed, but in June nine foreigners were kidnapped and three were later found dead.

Rebels loyal to leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi have denied they are holding any civilians.

The doctor's three or four kidnappers are demanding the release of one of their relatives in a criminal case, the governor of Marib said in a statement on the www.almethaq.net website.

He urged that the doctor be released within a few hours.

Fifteen Yemeni Red Crescent workers were kidnapped and released in August.

Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, is battling a Shi'ite rebellion in the north, a wave of al Qaeda attacks and rising secessionist sentiment in the south.

(Writing by Jason Benham; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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