Monday, November 14, 2011

French Aid Workers Released by al-Qaeda With Help from Oman, Yemeni Businessman

Three French aid workers, who were kidnapped by al-Qaeda six months ago, and held in Yemen, were released on Sunday (November 13) with the intervention and help from the Omani government and a Yemeni businessman, both of whom paid an undisclosed ransom to the kidnappers.

Originally, the kidnappers had demanded a US$12 million in exchange for the two women and one man, and had threatened to kill the hostages if ransom wasn't paid imminently. The aid group Triangle Generation Humanitaire said the workers were in good health, although the details of their release are sketchy.

COMMENT: The senior Yemeni tribal mediator said Oman and Yemeni tribesmen negotiated the release, and that the hostages were handed over to mediators one by one. He said a helicopter carried the hostages from the southern Yemeni city of Shabwa, a hotbed of Islamic militants, to Oman late Sunday.

The three aid workers were abducted May 28 in eastern Yemen's Hadramawt province, which is home to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Triangle Generation Humanitaire is based in Lyon, France, and pulled out its expatriate employees from Yemen after the kidnapping, though Yemeni employees remain. The group works on projects to improve water supplies and farming infrastructure.



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