May 24th, 2010
10:46 AM ET

Yemeni officials: Gunman kidnap American tourists

Tribal gunmen have kidnapped two American tourists along with their driver and translator, and are demanding the release of their jailed tribesman for the pair, Yemeni officials said Monday.

Government sources told CNN they have started moving forces to the area where the kidnapping is believed to have happened near the capital, Sana'a, but that their first option is negotiations.

"We will negotiate with the kidnappers to free the tourists first," said an official, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Another local source who knows the driver managed to call him and learned that more than five kidnappers stopped their car near an area called Bani Mansour, 70 km west of Sana'a, while they were returning from Hajara, a tourist area in Haraz province.

He said the tribesmen took them to an area called Shadara, which is where the tribe comes from.

The driver also reiterated that the victims "are being treated as guests to the tribe and they are all fine," said the source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

A senior State Department official said that they learned about the incident when the U.S. consulate in Yemen was contacted by one of the kidnap victims.

Tourist kidnappings are not unheard of in Yemen, but the fact that the victim was able to call the consulate suggests that this is not a typical case, the official said.

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Filed under: Yemen
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. CC

    My first question is why would an American tourist travel to Yemen when there has been a call to kill Americans? Are these people that stupid? There is not enough money in the world to pursuade me to travel to any Muslim country in this hateful climate. The US needs to put pressure to get these people released, as well as the authorities in Yemen if they want any type of respect or cooperation from the rest of the world.

    May 24, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BP

    As I said, Yemen is a beautiful place with wonderful climate and the majority of the people are hospitable and peaceful people. Yes, there are a few lunatics there but we have right wing, people here too. All they do is cling to guns and religion and antipathy to anyone whos is not like them( sounds familiar?).

    May 24, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rube513

    Why vist there, not very safe lol 😉 Very Very Stupid move that will probably result with their heads being chopped off 🙁 I hope for the best, but this world is KRAZY. I hope they live to see their families again, Insha' Allah.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jeff

    we will be reading about Eric's head being cutoff

    May 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. drcid777

    For those "common sense challenged" or for those politically fantasizing that the whole world is good except for their home country I offer a list. Don't go near: Yemen, Somalia, North Korea, Iran, Burma, Afganistan, Haiti. Start here

    May 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ed


    May 25, 2010 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sherri

    Lots of comments here! Well, I'll add mine. I would not go to ANY Muslim country. For ANY reason. Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc. They have a different mindset and violence is a way of life for them. They will kill at the drop of a hat. They say their Quaran tells them to do it. I have heard them on TV saying that "the Quaran is very clear. Terrorise them". You know what they say about when someone tells you what kind of person they are, believe them. These are the people who: stone women, mutilate females, throw acid in the face of little girls on the way to school, behead infidels (and their own too). Barbarians.

    May 25, 2010 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. Insan Mukmin

    It is not safe for Caucasians to be in the Middle East while a war is going on.

    May 25, 2010 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |

    What were they thinking of,are they really tired of this life?

    May 25, 2010 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. Eden

    Yemen... really?!?

    May 25, 2010 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nine One One

    If i read it right american lady married a yemeni?? That won't make her a tourist ey? Immigrant maybe? But whatever you call it it's really sad to think of the situation, you can speculate that they are CIA or operative. Any country has it's own downside and not all muslim's are war freak there are muslims everywhere Thailand, Malaysia but those place are safe only that Thailand has a little conflict as of the moment but it is Thai vs. Thai issue. And I can see here that fellow American is also throwing unpleasant words just to point out they have a point. The american being kidnapped has their own family just put yourselft in their shoes reading comments saying they are stupid enough to go to Yemen which has a ban advisory would that be ok with you to read such harsh words? Don't judge to quickly if you happen to meet christian/muslim no hatin and you can know what is inside them not all are bad seeds just don't think of the one bad apple in a crate and the rest will become bad also.

    May 25, 2010 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
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