Two American tourists are being held in Yemen - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Two American tourists are being held in Yemen

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SAN'A, Yemen (WKOW) -- The U.S. Embassy in Yemen says it's working with authorities there to free two American tourists kidnapped.

Security officials says tribal gunmen seized the pair in a village west of the capital and are demanding the release of a jailed tribesman.

Tribesmen in the village are calling the man and women "guests."

Kidnappings are endemic in Yemen and are usually carried out by disgruntled tribesmen hoping to win concessions from the government. In the past few years, however, al-Qaida has begun kidnapping foreigners as well, often with lethal results.

Weak government authority outside the capital, San'a, is believed to have tempted al-Qaida militants to seek refuge in the impoverished Arab nation in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

The United States and other Western powers have been increasing their support to Yemen's security forces to help deal with al-Qaida.

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