Sana'a, Yemen - Yemeni tribesmen seeking the release of a jailed fellow clansman kidnapped a South African tourist and her two sons in the southern province of Abyan, police officials said Saturday.
The woman, the boys aged 10 and 13, as well as a Yemeni driver were kidnapped late Friday as they drove on a highway from the south-eastern province of Hadhramout to the port city of Aden, the officials said.
Armed tribesmen from the al-Maraqisha tribe stopped the South African family's vehicle near the al-Khubar town, 170 kilometres east of Aden.
They forced the driver to switch to an unpaved road leading to a mountainous area, around 30 kilometres from the highway, one police official told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the woman was among a group of South African tourists visiting Hadramout.
"Her husband was to rejoin the family in Aden within two days," the official said.
The abduction occurred nearly two weeks after armed tribesmen released three Germans following a five-day kidnap ordeal. The kidnappers intended to press for the release of two relatives jailed in Sana'a over involvement in a previous kidnapping.
The hostages were released unharmed five days later.
Disgruntled tribesmen from impoverished areas of Yemen often take hostages to use as bargaining chips to press the government for aid, jobs or the release of detained fellow clansmen.
More than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped in Yemen since 1991. Almost all were released unharmed after mediation involving tribal leaders.
In September, armed tribesmen held two Colombian engineers hostage for three days in southern Yemen and demanded the release of a fellow clansman detained by police in connection with criminal offences. (dpa)