Two US tourists have been kidnapped in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula by Bedouins protesting the arrest of one of their tribesmen on a drugs charge, a security official said on Thursday.
The tourists were abducted late on Wednesday near the resort of Dahab on the Red Sea, the official said, adding that talks were under way in a bid to secure their release.
The two men were driving near the Dahab resort when they were stopped by a group of Bedouins at a makeshift roadblock and taken to an unknown location, she said.
Several foreigners have been captured in Sinai in recent months by Bedouins demanding the release of tribesmen they feel have been unjustly detained. All have been freed within days.
Sinai, where most luxurious resorts are concentrated in Egypt, had long been marginalised under the regime of former strongman Hosni Mubarak and the security situation there has been highly sensitive since his ouster.
Several Bedouins were severely punished between 2004 and 2008 for attacks against resorts on the Red Sea.
The situation in Sinai has become more difficult due to the limited presence of the army, which now rules Egypt, following the demilitarisation of the area under the 1979 peace accord between the Arab nation and Israel.
The pipeline running through northern Sinai which supplies to Israel and Jordan has also faced several attacks in the past year.