An Austrian man, kidnapped in Yemen late last year with a Finnish couple, said in a video posted online that his captors will kill him in a week if their demands are not met.
“My name is Dominik Neubauer. I’m an Austrian citizen. I’ve been taken hostage on the 21st of December 2012 by a Yemeni tribe,” the hostage says in the video, a gun held to his head.
“I appeal to the Yemeni government, to the Austrian government and to all the governments concerned and to the European Union to give them what they want. Otherwise, they will kill me seven days after this video is published,” the 26-year-old Arabic studies student said in the video posted on Feb. 21, 2013.
Pictured with what appeared to be an AK47 automatic rifle pointed at his head, Dominik Neubauer said he was in good health and appealed to the Yemeni and Austrian governments and the European Union to give his hostage takers what they wanted.
“Mum, Dad, Lucas, Angela, I love you more than anything. Up until now I am in good health.”
Neubauer was snatched along with a Finnish couple by tribesmen in the center of the capital Sana'a on Dec. 21, according to the Yemeni government. Yemen has said the three were later sold to al-Qaeda members and transferred to the small town of al-Manaseh south of the capital.
A spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday the government was acting on the assumption the video was genuine, and was in intensive contact with the Yemeni authorities and also with the Finnish government.
“This is the first sign of life we have from Mr. Neubauer,” he said.
He said Austria would not allow itself to be blackmailed, and said there was no concrete group that had made itself known as the hostage-takers.
The spokesman added that the ministry had received the video on Saturday. He declined to say where the ministry had got it from.
“We want to see the return of a healthy hostage,” he said, adding that the foreign, interior and defense ministries and the chancellery had been in crisis talks on Saturday that would likely continue on Sunday.
The spokesman said he did not know whether Neubauer was still together with the Finnish hostages.
The Finnish Foreign Ministry said the appearance of the video did not increase the risks for the Finnish couple.” According to our information, no similar threat has been published on the Finnish couple,” a spokesman said.
“The time limits are common in these kinds of demands, and often they are flexible. There is no need to draw too many conclusions over this,” he said.
Finland has several officials in Yemen working on the case, according to Reuters news agency.