SANAA An armed group kidnapped a foreign doctor in northern Yemen, the Interior Ministry and a local official said on Monday, the latest in a spate of abductions against Westerners in the country.
The local official said the armed group kidnapped the doctor from the hospital he worked at in Marib province, east of the capital Sanaa, late on Sunday.
The official and a diplomatic source said the doctor was from Uzbekistan, but the Interior Ministry gave his nationality as Russian and added that he was an anesthetist.
"Security forces sealed off all the exits of the province and .... are looking for the kidnapped doctor and his kidnappers to arrest them," the interior ministry said in a text message.
Kidnapping is common in U.S.-allied Yemen, where the government is struggling to contain an insurgency from Islamists linked to al Qaeda, a southern separatist movement, fighting in the country's north and sporadic conflicts with armed tribes.
Hostage-taking is sometimes carried out by militants specifically targeting Westerners, but is also used as a tactic by tribesmen to resolve disputes with the government, and by opportunists hoping to sell hostages on to other groups.
(Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)