Four UN-connected international aid workers kidnapped by gunmen north of the Yemeni capital of Sana'a yesterday (January 31) were released today (February 1), according to Yemen's Electricity Minister Saleh Sumai, who led negotiation efforts to free them said on Wednesday.
The four international aid workers from Colombia, Germany, Iraq and Palestine and their two local drivers were freed in Wadi Ahjar, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Sanaa, the same area where they were abducted on Tuesday.
COMMENT: Although the electricity minister endeavored to secure the release of an inmate at the Central Prison, he soon realize that the likelihood of gaining the inmate's release was unlikely, as he had committed murder. Therefore, in the end, the kidnappers recognized the impossibility of gaining the man's release. Consequently, they agree to release their captives.
Yemen's powerful tribes often kidnap foreigners to use as bargaining chips with the authorities. More than 200 foreigners have been abducted over the past 15 years. Almost all were later freed unharmed.
Earlier in November 2011, three French hostages kidnapped by Al-Qaeda militants arrived home after more than five months in captivity. Tribal sources said a ransom was paid, though Paris denied this.