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December 18, 2014

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Yemen officials say German kidnapped in capital

SANAA, Yemen — Armed Yemeni tribesmen have kidnapped a German citizen in the capital Sanaa, foreign ministry officials said Sunday.

Foreign ministry officials said the German was in the country studying Arabic. They said that after he was seized Friday, his kidnappers took him to Marib province east of Sanaa.

A security official said that the kidnappers are demanding the release of two members of a tribe in Marib, who were arrested in a military hospital in Sanaa four months ago.

A Yemeni government spokesman said efforts were underway to release the hostages.

"A crackdown is taking place now at the locations of the kidnappers in order to release the German hostage," Rajeh Badi said. "We will not give in to their demands because it will open the door for endless kidnapping attempts."

The other officials spoke anonymously as they were not allowed to talk to the media.

Abductions are frequent in Yemen, an impoverished nation where armed tribesmen and al-Qaeda-linked militants take hostages in an effort to swap them for prisoners or cash.

Yemen is engaged in a rocky political transition since longtime autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in 2012 following mass popular protests. Multiple armed groups across the country resist state authority.

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