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Middle East

German diplomat wounded evading Yemen kidnap: security

Yemen's Defence Minister Major General Muhammad Nasir Ahmad (L) shakes hands with a soldier as he tours an army barrack in the southeastern province of Shabwa April 28, 2014 in this handout photo provided by Yemen's defence ministry. (REUTERS/Yemen's Defence Ministry)

SANAA: A German diplomat was wounded in the Yemeni capital on Monday as he evaded an attempt by gunmen to kidnap him, a security official said.

The German foreign ministry confirmed that an embassy vehicle came under fire, adding that all passengers were "safe."

The gunmen travelling in a 4x4 vehicle attempted to stop the diplomat's car in the Hadda district of Sanaa, which is home to many embassies, the official said, adding that the diplomat was wounded as he sped away.

"Unknown people opened fire today in Sanaa at a vehicle belonging to the German embassy. The passengers are currently safe," a ministry spokesman said.

"The ministry of foreign affairs and the embassy in Sanaa are in close contact with concerned Yemeni authorities to attempt to solve the matter diligently," he added, declining to comment on whether anyone was wounded. 

Last October, a German embassy security guard was killed as he resisted a kidnapping attempt.

Two Britons and a German were kidnapped in January and February respectively.

Hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past 15 years, mostly by tribesmen who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the government.

Nearly all have later been freed unharmed.

But in recent years there has been a growing number of abductions by Al-Qaeda militants, several of whose hostages remain in captivity.

Militants from the jihadist group hold captive Saudi diplomat Abdullah al-Khalidi, who was kidnapped from the southern city of Aden in March 2012. 

Iranian diplomat Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht, kidnapped in July 2013 from Sanaa, is also held by Al-Qaeda captors.

 

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