Bulgaria’s ambassador to Yemen escaped a kidnap attempt on Saturday while he was driving through Sana’a in a diplomatic car, security officials said on Sunday.
He was with his wife when they were attacked. Three armed men tried to kidnap him from his car. When he refused and started to drive away they opened fire on his vehicle. He was wounded in the eye by broken glass,” a Western diplomat said.
The attempt against Ambassador Boris Ignatyev Pursov took place on Algeria Street, a main thoroughfare in the Yemeni capital, at around 17:00 pm (1400 GMT), another official said.
The ambassador and his wife escaped by fleeing into a nearby shopping center, witnesses said.
Yemeni security forces arrived shortly afterwards. The diplomat said the ambassador had not been accompanied by guards.
“We do not know if they were tribesmen who just spotted the diplomatic plates or al-Qaeda militants who had planned to kidnap him for ransom,” said the diplomat.
Kidnappings of foreigners and Yemenis are common in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state, where hostages are often used by disgruntled tribesmen to press demands on authorities. Hostages are often freed unharmed.
A Saudi diplomat was kidnapped in March by al Qaeda-linked militants in southern Yemen, and Saudi officials said the group’s demands included the release of their comrades held in Saudi Arabia. The diplomat has yet to be released.