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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
French tourists released in Yemen
Map of Shabwa province, Yemen
France has confirmed that four tourists kidnapped in Yemen have been released, 15 days after they were taken hostage in Shabwa province, east of Sanaa.

They were freed following negotiations with the kidnappers, who demanded the release of several jailed relatives.

It was not immediately clear whether the kidnappers' demands had been met.

The French tourists were the latest in a long line of foreigners kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen seeking concessions from the government.

Earlier, MP Awad Bawazir, who had been mediating with the kidnappers from the al-Abdullah tribe, told reporters by phone that the four had been delivered into his care.

"After hard and tiring negotiations throughout the night, an agreement was reached to free the hostages," Mr Bawazir said.

A French diplomat said the French nationals were then taken to a military base near Sanaa by helicopter.

After that they "rested at the ambassador's residence in Sanaa" and were in good health, the diplomat told AFP news agency.

In the long history of tribal kidnappings of foreigners in Yemen, hostages have almost always been released unharmed within a few days.


SEE ALSO
French tourists abducted in Yemen
10 Sep 06 |  Middle East
Yemen 'besieging' hostage takers
02 Jan 06 |  Middle East
Country profile: Yemen
26 Oct 05 |  Country profiles



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