Japanese diplomat wounded in Yemeni kidnapping attempt

A Yemeni soldier mans a checkpoint in the capital on December 15 after a Japanese diplomat was stabbed in a kidnap attempt.

Story highlights

  • The diplomat was stabbed outside his home in Sanaa
  • Officials: He was wounded after he resisted a kidnapping attempt
  • Kidnapping foreigners to use as bargaining chips has been a problem in Yemen

A Japanese diplomat was wounded when armed men tried to kidnap him in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Sunday morning, three Interior Ministry officials said.

The diplomat resisted and was stabbed by the assailants, the officials said. The kidnapping attempt took place outside the diplomat's residence.

The Japanese embassy in Sanaa confirmed the attempted kidnapping and said the diplomat is being treated for minor wounds in a Sanaa hospital.

The attackers fled the scene, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said.

While kidnapping has long been a problem in Yemen, with tribes often using foreign nationals as a bargain chip in their dealings with the central government, the past 24 months have proven even more dangerous for foreigners. Europeans are considered especially high-value targets.

Al Qaeda has been running kidnapping bids for well over a year, targeting foreigners.