Two Chinese oil experts kidnapped in Yemen

Yemen`s powerful tribes frequently carry out abductions of foreigners.

Sana’a: Two Chinese oil experts and four Yemeni soldiers were kidnapped by armed Yemeni tribesmen in Shabwa province on Sunday, a tribal source said.

"The armed men seized the two Chinese experts from their car in the Mater region" of Shabwa province, 750 kilometres (460 miles) east of the capital, the source said, adding that four Yemeni soldiers were also abducted.

The source said the kidnappers belonged to the Laqmush tribe, and that they were protesting after a fellow tribesman was wounded by police gunfire at a checkpoint in Mater.

Yemen`s powerful tribes frequently carry out abductions of foreigners to try and secure bargaining counters in disputes with the central government.

Of the 200 or so foreigners seized by the tribes over the past decade, all have been released without harm.

In June last year in the far north of Yemen, however, nine foreigners were seized by unknown parties amid sporadic fighting between the Army and Zaidi Shi’ite rebels.

The bodies of two Germans and a South Korean were found soon afterwards. Five Germans and a Briton are still missing.