Authorities who set up a crisis centre in Berlin say they hope they will soonsecure the release of a former German government minister, Juergen Chrobog, his wife and three children in Yemen.
The government there says it is negotiating with tribesmen who have been holding the family since Wednesday. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says: “As always we need patience, time and strong nerves. But I’m certain that there will be a resolution before the end of the year.” The family was seized by members of the al-Abdullah tribe during a trip to Shabwa from the port city of Aden. The kidnappers want the government to free five tribesmen jailed on criminal charges including murder. Armed tribal groups in Yemen often seize tourists but usually free them unharmed after negotiations. Chrobog, who is 65, was Germany’s ambassador to the United States from 1995 to 2001. In 2003, he secured the release of 14 hostages in the Sahara desert, including nine Germans. He and his family were in Yemen as tourists, having been invited by Yemen’s deputy foreign minister.