Two American tourists have been kidnapped by Bedouin gunmen in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. The kidnappers are demanding the release of a fellow Bedouin held on drugs charges.
The abduction occurred at a makeshift roadblock close to the Red Sea resort of Dahab, late on Wednesday. Alarabiya reported a security official said the two tourists had been taken to an unknown location and that talks are underway to secure their release.
According to the BBC local tribesmen have been calling for the release of the Bedouin man held on drug charges.The identity of the two Americans has not yet been disclosed.
The Red Sea tourist resorts were afforded a level of protection under Hosni Mubarak but the security situation has deteriorated since his downfall. In recent months there have been several instances of kidnappings of foreigners by Bedouins demanding fellow tribesman are released from custody. Previous kidnappings have seen hostages released within a few days.
Aljazeera reported that the Sinai Bedouin "are subject to arbitrary detention, barred the right to own land or participate in the military, and have even been denied citizenship." It reports that to the Egyptian government the Bedouin have become "synonymous with smuggler, spy or terrorist" as they respond to oppression and prejudice.
According to Dahab info., which lists recent kidnappings in the area, thus far no hostages have been injured and two American women kidnapped briefly in February reported they were treated "nicely."