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Three German nationals kidnapped in Yemen  Dec 16, 2008

Tribal disputes were blamed for the capture of a United Nations worker and her parents, all German nationals, in the outskirts of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. The tribesmen who kidnapped the three are said to be pressing for the resolution of a land dispute.

Yemeni tribesmen have abducted three Germans to press for an end to a land dispute with another tribe, a security official said on Monday.

The government has established contact with the tribe to secure the release of the hostages, one of whom works for the United Nations, he said.

The U.N. employee and her visiting parents were on an excursion in the outskirts of the capital Sanaa when they were seized by the armed tribesmen, the official told Reuters.

The German foreign ministry confirmed the three were missing.

"Since yesterday afternoon, three Germans have been missing in Yemen. According to the information available to us, we must assume the three were abducted near Sanaa," a ministry spokesman told a regular news conference.

He said German officials were in contact with Yemeni authorities. He declined to give further details.

Disgruntled tribesman have often kidnapped Western tourists to demand better living conditions, schools and services in the Arabian Peninsula country, one of the poorest outside Africa.

Most have been released unharmed, but in 2000 a Norwegian diplomat was killed in a crossfire and in 1998 four Westerners were killed during a botched army attempt to free them from Islamist militants who had seized 16 tourists.

In January, two Belgian tourists were killed in an attack blamed on al Qaeda-linked militants who have launched frequent attacks on government and Western targets, including a U.S. warship and a French supertanker.

Three German nationals kidnapped in Yemen
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