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France - Yemen

Three French hostages freed by suspected al-Qaeda militants


Three French hostages kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen more than five months ago have arrived in Oman after being freed. The two women and a man arrived at the Al-Seeb airbase near Muscat on an Omani military plane and appeared in good health. 


They had flown in from the Omani city of Salalah, about 1,000 kilometres south of the capital and near the border with Yemen where they had been held captive, a tribal official involved in their release told the French news agency.

The three worked for non-governmental agency, Triangle Generation Humanitaire, which reconstructs buildings in the desert province of Hadramout in the east of Yemen.

A Yemeni businessman, Ahmed al-Souraimeh Ferid Ben, who was exiled to Oman in the 1990s and who worked for the hostages' release, accompanied the French citizens on the plane.

The hostages disappeared on 28 May. News of their release broke early Monday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy thanked the Sultan of Oman and the Omani authorities for helping secure the release of the three hostages.

Kidnappings of foreigners in Yemen are common. More than 200 have been abducted over the past 15 years and almost all have been eventually released unharmed.


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