Negotiations for the release of a Dutch couple kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen were stalled as kidnappers' demanded that some police officers must be brought to justice, tribal mediators said Saturday.
Kidnappers said police officers were allegedly involved in attacking their tribe last year must be brought to justice before they release the Dutch couple, a mediator said.
Negotiations began last Tuesday with tribal chief Ali Nasser al-Siraji, leader of the kidnap mission, in order to securing the couple's release in return for financial compensation over a shooting incident in which a convoy headed by Siraji came under fire from a security check point and some members were hurt, mediators claimed.
"He has insisted that he will not release the hostages until his adversaries are at least questioned (by police) and held accountable, in addition to him receiving compensation," a mediator said.
Siraji, however, described the hostages as "guests", giving assurances that they are safe.
Siraji modified the initial demand that the perpetrators of the alleged attack should be handed over to him.
He wanted the "head of security in the province of Marib, Mohammed al-Ghadra, and Mohammed Omar, the head of central security in Marib, in addition to the soldiers who fired."
An interior ministry official said local authorities contacted the hostages who were in good health, the state news agency Saba reported, adding that security forces surrounded a remote tribal area where the two were being held.
He has insisted that he will not release the hostages until his adversaries are at least questioned and held accountable, in addition to him receiving compensation
Yemeni tribal mediator
"It was a Dutch couple who lived in Yemen. They were kidnapped near the capital," an official at the Dutch embassy in Sanaa told Reuters in Dubai. "I have no information about the demands of the kidnappers."
The Dutch man worked at a water network project in Taiz, while his wife is believed to be a teacher at a local school. Media in the Netherlands identified them as Jan Hoogendoorn, 54, and Heleen Janszen, 49.
Foreigners are frequently seized by Yemen's powerful tribes for use as bargaining chips in disputes with the government. More than 200 have been abducted over the past 15 years. Most have been released unharmed.
I have no information about the demands of the kidnappers
Dutch embassy official in Yemen