Yemeni Tribal Mediators Give Up in Case of Kidnapped German Diplomat
Tribal mediators seeking to secure the release of a German diplomat kidnapped in Yemen a month ago have decided there's no hope and pulled out, a tribal source told AFP on Monday, leaving the case to the provincial authorities.
"The mediation led by tribal elders came to a halt on Sunday night," said the source, who is close to the mediators.
Mediators from various tribes in the Maarib region, 170 kilometers (106 miles) east of the capital, had been working for the release of 55-year-old Rainer Berns, commercial attaché at the German embassy in Sanaa.
But they had failed to meet the kidnappers as planned, and the location of the diplomat was no longer known.
The mediators had handed over to the provincial authorities in Maarib 10 men who are from the same Al Zaidi tribe as the three kidnappers, who were being used as pawns in the negotiations in line with Yemeni tradition.
"Their handover, a sign that the Maarib tribes no longer take any responsibility for the kidnappers, could be used by the government to put pressure on the kidnappers," the source said.
He added that Al Zaidi elders had assured the local authorities they would "remain neutral on government efforts to free the German hostage."
The weekly September 26 newspaper, mouthpiece of the Yemeni army, named the three kidnappers on Thursday as brothers Mohammad and Ahmad Ali Al Zaidi, and Ahmad Ali Hammud Al Zaidi.
One of the kidnappers returned to the country two weeks before the July 27 abduction after spending a year in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, according to the weekly Yemen Times.
The paper has charged that the gang is part of the country's Islamic Jihad movement, but this has been dismissed as baseless by an official spokesman for the Yemeni government.
A Western diplomat said on August 9 that Berns was being held by Islamic extremists -- and not by a tribe – SANAA (AFP)
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