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Foreigner in Yemen kills would-be kidnappers: ministry

People chant slogans against U.S. drone strikes outside the Yemeni House of Representatives in Sanaa April 24, 2014. (REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi)

SANAA: A foreigner living in Yemen shot dead two gunmen who tried to abduct him Thursday, the Defense Ministry website said.

“Two armed men tried to kidnap a foreign citizen as he was leaving a barber in Hadda Street in Sanaa,” the ministry’s 26sep.net site said of the unprecedented incident.

“But he was able to resist and shot them with a revolver he had in his possession,” the website said, citing security sources.

It added that accomplices of the gunmen in a car with no number plates managed to get away.

The ministry gave no indication of the intended victim’s nationality or of those who planned to kidnap him.

Nor did it say whether the foreigner had been arrested following the shooting.

But security sources told AFP the man was a Russian expert working in the oil sector and that his attackers were Yemenis from the Marib region east of Sanaa.

Thursday’s incident was the first time that an attempted kidnapping in Yemen – where such incidents are common – has ended in the deaths of the aggressors.

Armed tribesmen are generally behind such kidnappings, hoping to pressure the authorities to resolve a grievance, and in most cases, their hostages are later freed unharmed.

However, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which the United States views as the most deadly franchise of the extremist network, has also kidnapped foreigners.

Alongside the Yemen government, the U.S. launched an intensive aerial campaign against Al-Qaeda bases in the country over the weekend. Some 70 militants were killed.

Medics said Thursday that Al-Qaeda militants had seized hospitals in the south to treat wounded comrades following the drone strikes.

Militants Sunday stormed the hospital of Azzan, in Shabwa province, as well as two smaller medical centers in nearby districts, the sources said.

They counted experienced doctors among their number, who tended the wounded.

“They forced us out of the centers along with other members of staff and brought in their wounded,” a doctor at a medical center in the town of Al-Saeed told AFP.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 25, 2014, on page 10.

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Summary

A foreigner living in Yemen shot dead two gunmen who tried to abduct him Thursday, the Defense Ministry website said.

Nor did it say whether the foreigner had been arrested following the shooting.

However, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which the United States views as the most deadly franchise of the extremist network, has also kidnapped foreigners.

Alongside the Yemen government, the U.S. launched an intensive aerial campaign against Al-Qaeda bases in the country over the weekend.


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