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Germany

Germans Return Home After Yemen Kidnapping Ordeal

Two Germans, held hostage by tribesman for five days in western Yemen, are returning home in time for Christmas, according to news reports.

Yemeni women in Sana'a old city

In the countryside around Sana'a, kidnappings are common

A German husband and wife, taken hostage for five days by tribesmen in western Yemen, flew back to Germany early Tuesday, Dec. 23, according to DPA news agency.

The Germans were visiting their daughter, who lives in Yemen, when the three were kidnapped. The daughter has chosen to stay in Yemen and continue her work with Germany's technical cooperation organization (GTZ).

The three were released unharmed Friday and handed over to a Yemeni government representative who secured their freedom after four days of talks with the kidnappers. Abductors set them free after government representatives promised to release two men jailed over a kidnapping last year, unnamed sources told DPA.

Kidnapping rampant in Yemen

Yemeni soldiers patrol at mountainous area in the Yemeni province of Amran

Soldiers patrol to try and prevent kidnappings

The three Germans were abducted during an excursion on Dec. 15. In an interview to Yemen's state TV after his release, the father said the kidnapping had not changed his love for Yemen.

It is not unusual for tribesmen from impoverished areas of Yemen to take hostages as bargaining chips to press the government for aid, jobs or the release of detained relatives. A former German government minister, his wife and three sons were kidnapped in Yemen three years ago and released unharmed a few days later.

In total, more than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped in Yemen since 1991. Almost all were released unharmed after mediation involving tribal leaders.

The most recent abduction took place on Sept. 19 when armed tribesmen took two Colombian engineers hostage for three days in southern Yemen and demanded the release of a fellow clansman detained by police in connection with criminal offences.

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