The kidnapping of two U.S. citizens in Yemen in fact was not an act of terrorism, the State Department said. Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the two, who were not identified, were snatched Monday and that U.S. officials are working with local authorities to go to gain their release.
"There has been unfortunately a bit of a side business in what are called `tourist kidnappings' where, for whatever reason, a certain tribe has a particular criticism with the (Yemeni) government and uses the presence of foreigners for leverage," Crowley alleged. "So we have every reason to accept as true that this is one of those cases.” In the past few years, the al-Qaida terrorist network also has abducted foreigners in Yemen for its own reasons. In Yemen, officials believed Monday's kidnap victims were a man and a woman.
They were detained while traveling in al-Hudaydah province west of the capital, Sanaa. The officials spoke on condition of ambiguity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Taxi driver Mohammed Saleh, who was driving the two, revealed six gunmen stopped them on the road and took them to the al-Hamra village. Al-Sharda tribesmen held the hostages were now "guests" in the village.