A Swedish technician kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen is expected to be released within hours, Interior Minister Hussein Arab said in an interview published on Thursday.
Arab told the newspaper 26 September that Ander Salenius, who has been held hostage since November 12 in a remote mountainous area of eastern Yemen, would be freed "within the next 24 hours."
"The efforts of security forces in cooperation with local authorities have led to positive results for the release of the Swede," he said, denying any concession had been made to the kidnappers.
"Their demands are illogical and unacceptable, and we will not give in to any of their demands," the minister said.
Tribal sources said Wednesday that mediation efforts by an elder of the tribe which kidnapped Salenius had failed to secure the Swede's release despite the expiry of a 24-hour deadline for the 69-year-old diabetic to be set free.
But the use of force was ruled out, said Sheikh Jaabal Tuaiman, himself a leader of another tribe.
Salenius has been moved to a remote mountain area a few kilometers (miles) from the kidnappers' original hideout of Mahjaza in the lawless region of Marib in eastern Yemen.
"The Swede is in good health" and has been provided with a doctor and an interpreter, he said, while police have encircled the new hideout.
His kidnappers are reportedly demanding that the Yemeni government return a plot of land in the southern port city of Aden that they say was confiscated from the leader of the tribe, Yahia al-Zaidi.
Salenius was working on the construction of an electricity plant north of Sanaa financed by the World Bank when he was seized.
More than 200 foreigners, mostly Western nationals, have been abducted by Yemen's unruly tribes since the early 1990s. They are used as bargaining chips in disputes with the Sanaa government or with foreign oil companies.
Almost all hostage-takings have been resolved without bloodshed through mediation between the authorities and tribes, and the kidnap victims are generally well-treated – SANAA (AFP)
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