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Germany

Kidnapped German Family in Yemen Set Free

Former German diplomat Jürgen Chrobog and his family were released by their captors on Saturday.

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Chrobog and his family were kidnapped on Wednesday

German Foreign Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed Saturday afternoon that the family had indeed been released. He said they were on their way to the southern port city of Aden and that they were well.

Steinmeier thanked the Yemeni government and his own emergency task force in Berlin for their activities to free the Chrobogs.

"We're free, thank God," Chrobog's wife told AP.

The kidnappers handed over the family to Yemeni officials on Saturday, a Yemeni government representative had previously told news agencies.

Chrobog, his wife and three adult sons were kidnapped by men from the Al-Abdullah tribe on Wednesday on the road to Aden in the Shabwa region, 480 kilometers (300 miles) east of the capital Sana. The hostage-takers said they would let their victims go in return for the release of five members of their tribe from jail.

It was not known whether the conditions were met.

Negotiated hostage release himself

Chrobog, 65, served as deputy foreign ministry under former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and as Germany's ambassador to the United States from 1995 to 2001. He was seen as a gifted crisis manager. Ironically, he helped secure the release of 14 German tourists taken hostage in Mali in August 2003.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, Chrobog traveled to Pakistan to negotiate the release of aid workers from the organization Shelter Now who were held in Taliban prisons in Afghanistan.

The Chrobogs' kidnapping was the fourth abduction of foreign tourists in Yemen this year. Two Austrians were freed only last week after being held for three days.

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