On Sunday, February 2, Yemen officials were able to confirm the kidnapping of a German national. The citizen, who as of yet remains unnamed, was captured and is being held hostage by armed militants who are from a nearby tribe.
The German citizen was kidnapped while in the capital city of Sanaa. According to the Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foreigner was in the country to study Arabic.
The alleged kidnappers have reportedly taken the individual to an undisclosed area in the Marib province which is east of the capital. They are holding him hostage while demanding that the government release two prisoners who were taken into custody four months prior to the latest developments.
The names of the victim and the officials who have given the information have not been disclosed due to anonymity.
These are just the latest in a series of tensions that have rocked the gulf nation. With violence and abductions running rampant throughout the country, there is genuine fear that Yemen’s already tense situation will continue to escalate.
Just on Saturday, religious tempers flared once again, and clashes between Sunni And Shi’ite Muslims have left 65 dead. According to anonymous officials, this most recent conflict was fought over a territory dispute between rivaling tribes. Salafi Islamists and Hawthi tribesmen have reportedly been at odds each other, but this latest bloody conflict is just another example of how dark the situation in Yemen is quickly becoming.
Yemen is one of the Arab World’s poorest countries and it has an extremely active terrorist presence. Often referred to as a haven for al Qaeda, its situation has steadily deteriorated since former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh ceded power following mass demonstrations in 2012.
Now, with the kidnapping of a German national, Yemen’s government is losing even more of its precarious control over the country. Officials also confirm that around 300 deaths have been reported since conflicts were reignited in October. Of those 300, 210 died in the war-torn city of Dammaj alone.
Although the government has since brokered a cease-fire in the city, detractors of the government are quick to point out that they cannot keep a handle on violent situations before they arise. As it stands now, Yemen is not capable of policing all of the interior issues that threaten to tear the country apart.
There are concerns for American soldiers in the region as well. Although there are only a handful of U.S. personnel in Yemen, in the past they have been the targets of violence and there are as of now no indications that the violence is going to be slowing down.
Furthermore, in response to the escalation, the U.S. State Department has recently issued a warning about traveling to Yemen. Officially, the department states that “The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart.”
With the most recent kidnapping of a German national, Yemen`s situation is clearly deteriorating. Officials are able to confirm widespread conflict, and new attacks rock the country almost daily. Al Qaeda`s presence in the region is not to be diminished, however the most recent developments seem for now to be somewhat separated from the terrorist entity.
By Brett Byers-Lane