Yemen vows to track down kidnappers of Italian embassy officer


Yemen’s foreign minister has vowed to do everything possible to track down the kidnappers of an Italian embassy security officer and obtain his safe release, state news agency Saba said.

Gunmen seized the security officer near the Italian embassy in the capital Sanaa on Sunday, Yemeni security sources told Reuters. No information has been revealed so far on the identity of the kidnappers.

In a phone call with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi Di Santagata, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said the hunt for the kidnappers had begun, Saba reported late on Sunday, Reuters reports.

A spokesman for the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome said a security officer who was a member of the country’s Carabinieri military police had been seized in Yemen and that a crisis committee had been activated.

The abduction followed the kidnapping in March of the Saudi deputy consul in Yemen’s port city of Aden, Abdallah al-Khalidi, by al Qaeda-linked militants. The kidnappers have demanded the release of women detainees held in Saudi prisons.

Disgruntled tribesmen also often kidnap foreigners and bomb oil and gas pipelines as a way to press demands on authorities.

Earlier on Sunday, about 100 armed tribesmen loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh stormed the Interior Ministry, demanding to be enlisted in the police force, officials said.

The incidents on Sunday highlighted the continuing turmoil in Yemen despite a peace deal under which Saleh stood down after months of protests against his 33-year rule and was replaced in February by his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.