Suspected Yemeni murderer holding Italian: ministry

Concrete barriers surround the Italian embassy a day after an Italian officer was kidnapped in Sanaa on July 30, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS

SANAA: A Yemeni man wanted in cases of murder and banditry is behind the weekend kidnapping of an Italian embassy security agent in Sanaa, the interior ministry said on its website.

The ministry said late Monday that Ali Naser Huraidkan, from Al Jalal tribe in Yemen's eastern Marib province, has abducted the Italian who is being held by tribesmen from the region known for carrying out such abductions.

Huraidkan, wanted for his involvement in "cases of murder and banditry," kidnapped the Italian to press authorities to drop charges against him and to offer him compensation, the ministry said.

Security services will work on his release "as soon as possible," it added.

A Yemeni security official and a Western diplomat had said that unknown gunmen kidnapped the Italian on Sunday.

The kidnapping was confirmed by a foreign ministry spokesman in Rome.

Italian media reports on Tuesday identified the kidnapped man as Alessandro Spadotto.

According to La Stampa newspaper, Spodatto is 29 years old, unmarried, and has managed to get in touch with a member of his family via a mobile text message following his kidnapping.

Italian news agency ANSA had cited officials as saying he is a member of Italy's Carabinieri military police force. It also said he was picked up while in civilian clothes in a shop near the embassy.

Foreigners are frequently kidnapped in Yemen by armed tribesmen, who use them as bargaining chips with the authorities.

More than 200 people have been abducted in Yemen over the past 15 years. The majority have been freed alive and well.

A French staffer with the International Committee of the Red Cross who was kidnapped in April in the northern port city of Hudaida was released earlier this month unharmed.

But a Swiss woman and a Saudi diplomat kidnapped by Al-Qaeda militants in March remain hostage.





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