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Tajik Doctor Kidnapped In Yemen

A Tajik doctor has been kidnapped by armed tribesmen in south-central Yemen, his colleague told RFE/RL's Tajik Service.

Saidahmad Bekov, a manager with the Russian company Tekhnostroyeksport, told RFE/RL that Homidjon Ochilov, 60, was kidnapped in Shabwa Province on February 28.

Bekov said Ochilov, 60, has since been taken by his captors to neighboring Abyan Province. He has worked in Yemen since 2007.

Ochilov is a Tajik citizen, though some agencies have erroneously identified him as Russian or Uzbek.

Bekov said Ochilov contacted him by phone today and told him that he was lured out of his home by a request to treat someone who had been injured. Ten armed men then took him captive.

Ochilov told Bekov that the kidnappers are not treating him badly. He said they told him that they have to resolve some problems with the government and needed him as a hostage.

Bekov said there are three Russian companies that provide medical care in Yemen: Tekhnostroyeksport, Eksportstroy, and Zdraveksport. He said the companies employ at least 47 doctors from Tajikistan and dozens of translators and other workers.

Bekov said Ochilov was the second Tajik physician to be abducted by armed rebels in Yemen. In the first case -- some three or four years ago -- a doctor was transported to a remote village to treat a wounded rebel commander before being returned to his home unhurt.