Tribesmen on Monday kidnapped eight people, among them two Syrians and two Saudis, in southwestern Yemen in a bid to secure the release of two fellow tribesmen, a tribal chief told AFP.
“Tribesmen from the Subayha tribe intercepted several trucks on the coastal road between the provinces of Lahj and Aden, kidnapping two Syrians, two Saudis and four Yemenis, among them a colonel in the army,” said Wahib al-Mansub.
"They were taken to an unknown destination," said the source.
The captors are demanding the release of 13 tribesmen arrested after clashes with security forces over land disputes.
Yemen is trying to restore law and order after an uprising which forced veteran leader Ali Abdullah Saleh from office in February.
Restoring stability to the Arabian Peninsula state has become an international priority due to fears that al Qaeda and other Islamist militants could become entrenched in a country which neighbors oil producer Saudi Arabia and lies on major shipping lanes.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has made its base in the impoverished state, has mounted operations in neighboring Saudi Arabia as well as attempting to launch attacks against the United States.
The Yemeni army this year drove al Qaeda militants out of several southern towns they had held for more than a year, in a U.S.-backed drive, but militants have struck back with assassinations and suicide attacks against security officials.
Tribesmen have previously kidnapped foreigners in an effort to pressure central government over disputes. An Italian was kidnapped in the capital Sanaa this year but later released.