Police source: Dutch couple missing in Yemen probably kidnapped

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A Dutch woman and her husband have been missing for a week in Yemen and are likely to have been kidnapped, a police source in the capital Sanaa said on Saturday.

The source said the woman works as a researcher in Yemen and disappeared with her husband after they left their home in Sanaa’s Hadda district, which houses many diplomatic missions.

“It is likely they were kidnapped, but we do not know who was behind it,” the source said.

Officials at the Dutch embassy and the foreign ministry in The Hague were not immediately able to comment on the report.

Several Westerners have been kidnapped this year in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state where a transitional government is struggling to impose law outside the main cities.

Kidnapping is rife in Yemen, where disgruntled tribesmen often take hostages to press the government to free jailed relatives or improve public services. Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants have also been behind some kidnappings.

Last month gunmen seized two South Africans in the southern city of Taiz. Three members of the Red Cross, including a Swiss citizen, were also briefly held in May.

An Austrian and two Finnish men were released in May after being kidnapped in December and sold to Al-Qaeda. Austria and Finland denied paying a ransom. A Swiss woman was also freed in February after spending a year in captivity.

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