(Adds abduction of banker's son, Finnish comment)
SANAA Dec 24 A Finnish couple and an Austrian
man abducted in Yemen are being held by tribesmen who are
demanding a ransom in return for their freedom, an Interior
Ministry official said on Monday.
"We have information that a tribal group is holding the
three Western nationals and they are asking for a ransom," the
official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. They were
kidnapped in the capital Sanaa on Friday.
The ministry official told Reuters the three were being held
in the town of Khawlan, about 20 km (12 miles) east of Sanaa.
Kidnappings of Westerners occur sporadically in Yemen,
mostly by tribesmen seeking bargaining clout in disputes with
the authorities, or by al Qaeda militants and their
Lawlessness in the Arabian Peninsula state has alarmed its
neighbour and top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia as well as the
United States, which views Yemen as a front line in its struggle
against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The Finnish Foreign Ministry said it could not confirm that
a ransom had been demanded or that the Finns were being held by
In a separate incident, tribesmen kidnapped the son of a
manager of the private Yemen International Bank outside Sanaa.
An official at the bank said the kidnappers were demanding
financial compensation for a plot of land that they said had
been improperly taken by the bank.
(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari and Terhi Kinnunen; Writing by
Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by William Maclean and Kevin Liffey)