Kidnappers in Yemen Free 3 French Aid Workers

Posted November 14th, 2011 at 3:40 am (UTC-5)
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy says three French aid workers kidnapped in Yemen nearly six months ago have been freed with help from the sultan of Oman.

In a statement Monday, Mr. Sarkozy thanked the Omani leader for his “decisive help,” but did not elaborate on the details of the release.

The three hostages – two women and a man – worked for the French charity Triangle Generation Humanitaire. They were abducted May 28 in Yemen's eastern Hadramawt province, an area where al-Qaida's local wing has been active.

In July, men linked to the terrorist group's Yemeni offshoot had demanded a $12 million ransom for the three. French authorities insist the government does not pay to free hostages. In September, Oman paid the ransom for two U.S. hikers held by Iran for more than two years.

Kidnappings of Western tourists or aid workers by tribes seeking ransom or concessions from the government have been frequent in Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries. Most hostages have been freed unharmed.