Middle East

Dutch hostages seized in Yemen warn of execution

Dutch hostages Judith Spiegel and Boudewijn Berendsen make plea
Image caption The couple were apparently unhurt in the video

A Dutch couple kidnapped in Yemen have made an impassioned plea for help, warning they could be executed within 10 days.

In a YouTube video, Judith Spiegel and Boudewijn Berendsen said they had "a big problem", urging Dutch authorities to act to secure their release.

They were seized by unknown attackers on 15 June from a house in Sanaa.

The Dutch foreign minister said the case had the government's "full attention", giving no further details.

"Talking about it in public seldom helps bringing the issue to a good conclusion," Frans Timmermans was quoted as saying.

'Do something'

Ms Spiegel and Mr Berendsen made their appeal in the minute-and-a-half video clip made at an undisclosed location.

"We have been kidnapped here in Yemen and we have a big problem," said Ms Spiegel, who is seen wiping away tears.

"We have spoken to the Dutch ambassador and told him what the conditions are to get out of here, but until now nothing's happened."

She added: "These people are armed, and if there is no solution within the next 10 days, they will kills us.

"Family, media, Dutch citizens, do something, we have to get out of here."

No group has said it kidnapped the couple.

The Yemen Post newspaper said that local groups were using abduction as a bargaining chip with the government, without elaborating further.

Ms Spiegel was working as a journalist in the capital, while Mr Berendsen was employed in the insurance industry.

A Dutch foreign ministry spokesman told the BBC that officials were aware of the video, but the authorities declined to say whether they had been asked to pay a ransom for the couple's release.

Yemeni tribesmen have repeatedly kidnapped foreigners to use as a way of getting concessions from the government. More than 200 have been seized over the past 15 years, with most being released unharmed.

More on this story