Five Italian tourists who were taken hostage in Yemen are reported to be in good health but their captors have threatened to kill them if a rescue attempt is made. The village where it is believed they are being held is surrounded by Yemeni troops. The kidnappers, local tribesmen, are demanding the release of imprisoned relatives.
The tourists were seized on Sunday in an area of the remote mountainous Marib province some 170 kilometres east of the capital Sanaa.
Patricia Rossi and Enzo Bottillo from Milan were travelling with three others – two women and a man. They had been part of a large group of Italian tourists who have now returned home.
It is the fourth kidnapping of western tourists in less than two months. The Italians were abducted just hours after tribesmen released five Germans. In Sanaa people took to the streets to express their anger over the latest hostage-takings.
It is a sentiment shared by the Yemeni government which is trying to boost tourism, and which fears a revival of widespread kidnappings that swept the country several years ago.