Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Negotiations to pay ransom for releasing 3 western hostages

Negotiations to pay ransom for releasing 3 western hostages

Finnish agree to pay ransom, Austrians reluctant, Americans completely refuse and ask for crushing Al Qaeda 

By Nasser Arrabyee, 05/02/2013

Two delegations from Finland and Austria have  secretly arrived in the Yemeni capital Sanaa for negotiations over releasing Finnish couple and Austrian man who were kidnapped by angry tribesmen last December from the middle of Sanaa and sold to Al Qaeda later in the same month.

Eropean sources told the Nasser Arrabyee Tuesday Feburay 5, 2013, that the Finnish have agreed to pay ransom while the Austrians were a little bit reluctant to pay.

The sources said that Americans and some Europeans like British refused completely to pay any money for Al Qaeda. So, they push the Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi  to  implement an operation like that which was implemented in AlGeria last month in which a lot of hostages and kidnappers were killed. 

"The Americans do not want any money to Al Qaeda, and they are  right, but the Finnish want their citizens to be released unharmed," said the Europen source.

The big issue now is how much is the ransom. Al Qaeda asked for 4 million Euros. The Finnish and Austrian delegations( government and civil society representatives) came ready with the money, the source said. 

However,a  tribal leader from Radaa, involved in  mediation efforts, told Nasser Arrabyee that Al Qaeda wanted their money they had paid for the kidnappers and they want more as ransom too.

Al Qaeda claimed they paid 30 million Yemeni Rials which is about 150,000 US dollars.

"Al Qaeda asked for 5 million US dollars at the beginning, and a lot of efforts were exerted to make it one million US dollars, and I think with more push on Al Qaeda they would accept 500,000 US dollars which is about three times  more than they paid," said the tribal leader who asked not to be named for the sensitivity of the issue. 

The Finnish man and woman and Autrian man were studying Arabic language in the old city of Sanaa before they were kidnapped earlier last  Decmber. 

About 70 Al Qaeda operatives were killed and more than 30 soldiers were killed in the battles between the Yemeni army and Al Qaeda over the last couple of weeks in Al Manaseh area, stronghold of Al Qaeda in Radaa, about 200 south east of the capital, where the three hostages are believed to be.

Earlier Tuesday, 3 soldiers were killed and and four others injured when Al Qaeda made an ambush for for troops who were trying to advance towards the stronghold of Al Manaseh.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni government, which is in a fragile transitional period, is now facing an increasingly acute crisis with Iran especially now after the American navy and Yemeni coast guards seized a ship loaded with arms and explosives allegedly coming from Iran. The weapons cargo crisis came months after Yemeni President Hadi accused Iran of interfering in Yemen's internal affairs and of having spy networks working in the conflict-torn country. 

Iran always denies such allegations and asks for hard evidence for these activities. 

The conflicting parties in Yemen exchange the accusations  about importers of these arms, who they are?.

The Sunni Islamists ( Yemen brotherhood) say the arms cargo was to Al Houthi Shiite and these , in turn, say it was for the southern separatists and Al Qaeda. Al Houthi and their allies point to the Turkish weapons shipments seized in Yemen recently. They ask for whom were all those Turkish weapons?

The Iranian deputy ambassador to Sanaa Murtada Abed denied that the ship came from Iran asking the Yemeni government to present any evidence if they have any through diplomatic channels.

The investigations revealed that the sailors were eight and all of them were Yemenis. Their names were published and they were from Hajja and Taiz provinces.

The weapons included machine guns, RPGs,  Sam2 and Sam 3 land to air missiles night visions, and explosives.

The ship passed through the Omani coasts, and the  the Yemeni coast guards intercepted it late January in cooperation with "friends" according to the official media. 

The weapons were hidden in four rooms under a basin of oil, and the ship had the flag of Banama.  

A delegation from theUN  security council arrived in Sanaa earlier this week to closely see what is the truth about this controversial shipment. 
The ship had a permit for transporting oil. 

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