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Germany

Report: Kidnappers Release German Engineer Abducted in Yemen

Tribesmen have reportedly freed a German engineer and two Yemeni hostages kidnapped over the weekend. Security forces had surrounded the a village where the three abductees were being held, German media reported.

Sana'a city gates

The three engineers were kidnapped near the city of Sana'a

The release of the German as well as two Yemenis working for a gas company was secured through negotiations with tribal leaders, an official told Reuters news agency without providing additional details.

German embassy officials could not be reached immediately for comment.

Earlier Tuesday, army and security forces surrounded a remote mountain village in southern Yemen where armed tribesmen were holding the hostages.

Security officials told German DPA news agency that armored personnel carriers and patrol vehicles laid siege to the Khubar Laqmoush village in the south-eastern province of Shabwa in an effort to pressure the kidnappers into releasing their hostages.

Armed tribesmen kidnapped the German expert and two Yemeni engineers on Sunday as they were heading to their work site near the Arabian Sea port of Balhaf in Shabwa, some 570 kilometers (354 miles) south east of Sana'a.

Yemeni soldiers sitting in a truck

Security forces reportedly put pressure on the tribesman to release the hostages

The abductors, who belong to the Laqmoush tribe, had demanded the release of a jailed fellow tribesman accused of murder in 1989.

Ahead of the release, Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi, the governor of Shabwa, told the defense ministry's online newspaper that authorities were "exerting strenuous efforts to free the three hostages peacefully."

Third foreigner kidnapped recently

The German hostage works as a pipeline expert for Amecspie Hawk, a sub-contractor with Yemen LNG, which runs the project. Amecspie Hawk is building a 320-kilometre-long pipeline from an oil refinery in the north-central province of Mareb to the liquid natural gas exporting port of Balhaf.

The kidnapping is the third involving foreigners and the second involving German nationals in about a month.

On Dec. 15, three Germans were captured in western Yemen. They were released four days later. On January 3, a South African mother and her two sons were seized by tribesmen in the southern province of Abyan. They were released a day later.

Disgruntled tribesmen from impoverished areas of Yemen often take hostages to use as bargaining chips to press the government for aid, jobs or the release of detained fellow clansmen.

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