• Switzerland edition
 

Swiss woman seized in Yemen 'safe': tribal chief

Published: 20 Mar 2012 15:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Mar 2012 15:33 GMT+01:00

A Swiss woman being held hostage in eastern Yemen is safe and in good health, a tribal chief told AFP on Tuesday, offering to mediate with the kidnappers for her release.

"I am confident that the Swiss national is safe and in good health," said Ali Abdullah Zibara, who played a role in brokering the release in November of three French aid workers who had been held by Al-Qaeda militants for more than five months.

"I was contacted by the Swiss embassy and I am waiting for written permission from the Yemeni government to begin efforts to free the Swiss woman," Zibara told AFP.

He declined to comment on reports that her captors are loyalists of Al-Qaeda, which has a strong presence in Yemen's south and east.

The Yemeni interior ministry, quoting a Swiss colleague of the woman, said she had been teaching at a foreign language institute in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida and was seized from her home on March 14th by "men in military uniform" who then moved her to Shabwa province, far to the east.

The ministry said that the kidnapped woman had telephoned her colleague to say that her abductors are demanding "the release of prisoners held in Hodeida" in exchange for her freedom.

A local official said that the detainees whose release was being demanded were both Al-Qaeda suspects. A security official said "the kidnapping bears the hallmark of Al-Qaeda."

Shabwa is a stronghold of loyalists of the jihadists' local affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, whose militants fight under the banner of Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law).

More than 200 people have been abducted in Yemen over the past 15 years, many of them by members of the country's powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips with the authorities.

Almost all of those kidnapped were later freed unharmed.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
UBS 'to pay French $1.5 billion over tax evasion'
Photo: Martin Abegglen

UBS 'to pay French $1.5 billion over tax evasion'

Swiss bank UBS was on Wednesday charged with tax fraud in Paris for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a judicial source said. READ  

Renewable energy activities hit ABB results
Photo: Roland Zh

Renewable energy activities hit ABB results

Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB said its profits fell in the second quarter, pulled down by renewable energy activities, despite strong orders, particularly in North America. READ  

Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday that it considered Ukraine to be in a state of civil war, urging both sides to respect the laws of conflict as civilians bear the brunt. READ  

Israel's actions 'may be war crimes': Pillay
Navi Pillay. Photo: UNHCR

Israel's actions 'may be war crimes': Pillay

Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip could amount to war crimes, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said in Geneva on Wednesday, while also condemning indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants Hamas. READ  

Wheelchair user killed in station by SBB train
Photo: Sebastian Widmann/AFP/Getty Images

Wheelchair user killed in station by SBB train

An investigation is under way into the death of a man in a wheelchair who was killed on Tuesday by a Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) train travelling through the Roggwil-Wynau train station in the canton of Bern. READ  

Geneva bank CBH snaps up Portuguese interests
Photo: (Detail) AFP

Geneva bank CBH snaps up Portuguese interests

The main shareholder of troubled Banco Espirito Santo (BES) was placed in receivership on Tuesday as the parent group announced it has sold off the bulk of its Swiss-based activities to Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique, a Geneva-based bank. READ  

Palestinian meets Fifa chief over Gaza crisis
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr.

Palestinian meets Fifa chief over Gaza crisis

Fifa chief Sepp Blatter on Tuesday raised the alarm about the spiralling Gaza crisis as he held talks with the head of the Palestinian Football Association. READ  

Hackers exploit 'holes' in Swiss online banking
Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP/File

Hackers exploit 'holes' in Swiss online banking

Computer hackers are using a “trojan horse” virus to target users of 16 Swiss online banking sites, according to reports from security experts who liken the “holes” in internet banking security to Emmental cheese. READ  

Geneva lawyer named US ambassador to Finland
Charles C. Adams Jr. Photo: Paul Ronga

Geneva lawyer named US ambassador to Finland

President Barack Obama has named Charles C. Adams Jr., a prominent American lawyer and Democratic Party supporter living in Geneva, as US ambassador to Finland. READ  

Strong franc dents Swatch first-half profits
Photo: Swatch

Strong franc dents Swatch first-half profits

Swatch, the world’s biggest watch company, recorded lower profits for the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period a year earlier, as the strong Swiss franc took its toll. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Video of Bern football player's spectacular own goal goes global
Tech
Switzerland stays on top of innovation rankings for fourth year
National
Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn play tennis at Jungfraujoch (VIDEOS)
Business & Money
Competition commission launches probe into Swiss car leasing 'fiddle'
Health
Down's syndrome cases in Switzerland more than double
National
American family files hefty lawsuit over deadly Swiss balloon crash
Features
Graubünden's panoramic Bernina Express celebrates rail history
National
Study rates Zurich as world's fifth most expensive city for expats
National
Swiss-based human brain project directors hit back at research critics
Business & Money
Switzerland gets the edge on EU with China free trade agreement
National
Entries for new Swiss national anthem competition swell over 200
National
Zurich-based helicopter firm denies role in Schumacher medical leak
Culture
Montreux Jazz Festival debuts live internet streaming of concerts
Features
Tour of Bern’s historic fountains tells story of Switzerland's capital
National
Swiss media lament football team's 'cruel' and 'bitter' defeat
International
The Local expands its reach with the launch of new website in Denmark
Sport
Jubilant press hails hat-trick hero Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'
National
New website study reveals inequality in Swiss disposable income
Travel
Switzerland’s largest ski area 4-Vallées breaks up over lift dispute
National
VIDEO: Zurich Zoo launches contest to name newborn baby elephant
Business & Money
CEO-to-worker pay gap grows at biggest Swiss firms: union study
Culture
VIDEO: Swiss performance artist plans naked stroll at Art Basel
National
Zurich's new rail line and underground station open 'without a hitch'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,181
jobs available