Letter: Yemen warnings

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The issue of blame for the deaths of the hostages in Yemen will be debated for some time, but we were somewhat alarmed by the inference in your leading article on 1 January that the tourists themselves had some responsibility for what happened: "Given the past history of Yemeni hostage-taking, the tourists must have known they were taking risks".

We have travelled on a number of occasions with their tour company, but we were fortunate enough to have chosen a different one for our trip to Yemen over the Christmas period. In our experience such travel operators (and invariably their clients as well) act with utmost care and are as well informed on local conditions as possible.

This group were undoubtedly as fully aware as we were that there was a very small risk of kidnapping but that no foreign tourist had yet been physically harmed by their captors. What happened in the latest incident was very different from previous events.

Neither they nor their tour operator were being foolhardy. They acted in line with all known information and advice, the most important source being the Foreign Office.

IAN BAILEY

LOUISE TURNER

Halifax,

West Yorkshire

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