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Yemeni tribal leaders asked to search for kidnapped Finns

Officials in Yemen have asked local tribes for help in the search for a Finnish couple and an Austrian man who were kidnapped in Sanaa on Friday.

Jemeniläissotilaita maan pääkaupungin Sanaan kadulla perjantaina 21. joulukuuta 2012.
Yemeni soldiers on the streets of Sanaa on December 21st, the day two Finns and an Austrian were abducted. Image: Yahya Arhab / EPA

Top officials of the Yemeni Interior Ministry have met with tribal leaders in the areas around the capital to ask for help in finding the three Westerns abducted by gunmen on Friday.

Despite a major search by government forces, the location of the three is still unknown. According to unconfirmed reports, their captors are demanding a ransom of 4-7 million dollars for their release.

A Yemeni Interior Ministry representative told the Yemen Post on Wednesday that the local tribes could be a help in the search because "tribal leaders have their eyes in most of the area."

The official declined to give any information about possible progress in finding the hostages. He did say, however, that the Yemeni authorities so far do not have precise information on where the three are being held.

Long wait possible

According to the Finnish Foreign Ministry, any negotiations for the release of the Finnish couple and their Austrian friend could be a long, drawn-out affair.

As of Wednesday evening, the Foreign Ministry had still not confirmed that a ransom demand has been made.

A Finnish Foreign Ministry representative is in Yemen acting as a liaison for both Finnish and Austrian authorities.

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