World News

Yemen tribe frees 3 hostages in business dispute

ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - A Yemeni tribe has freed two foreign engineers and their Yemeni driver, a government source said on Saturday, after the military threatened to storm the area to secure their release.

The official Saba news agency reported earlier that the tribe had snatched the men on Friday after a dispute between a local contractor, apparently a member of the tribe, and the hostages’ employer, Technohouse Engineering and Contracting.

It said that the military was preparing to force the release of the men being held in the eastern province of Shabwa, where they were working on a contract for a gas firm.

The three were identified in the Arabic-language report as Atram Nafour Kaftar, a Canadian of Indian origin, Osama Mohammad Aslab, a Syrian, and Ammar Abdul-Karim, a Yemeni.

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh has vowed to crack down on abductions of foreigners which, along with attacks by al Qaeda, are hindering the poor Arab state’s efforts to boost tourism.

Scores of holidaymakers and foreigners working in Yemen have been kidnapped over the past decade by tribesmen demanding better schools, roads and services, or the release of prisoners. Most have been released unharmed.