Kidnapped foreign aid workers released in Yemen, says Defense Ministry | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 02.02.2012
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Kidnapped foreign aid workers released in Yemen, says Defense Ministry

Six UN foreign aid workers kidnapped in Yemen on Tuesday have been released, according to Yemen’s Defense Ministry. They are said to be in ‘good health.’

Yemeni tribesmen on a vehicle leave a mountain village

Kidnappers were hoping for the release of an associate

A group of United Nations aid workers has been released from captivity after being taken hostage on Tuesday, according to Yemen's Defense Ministry.

"The six aid workers were released...after mediation efforts led by Energy Minister Saleh Samee," a statement by the ministry said on Thursday. "They are in good health."

One of the hostages working for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is German, and the others are of Palestinian, Iraqi and Colombian and Yemeni origin.

According to Yemen's official news agency, Saba, the kidnappers had been hoping to negotiate the release of an associate being held at the central prison in the capital, Sanaa, in exchange for the hostages.

Yemen's influential tribes often kidnap foreigners and use them as bargaining chips with authorities. Over 200 people have been abducted in the past 15 years; almost all were eventually freed, unharmed.

Most recently, Norwegian UN worker Gert Danielsen was freed last week, after being abducted in Sanaa on January 14.

msh/cmk/mz (AFP, dapd, Reuters)

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