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Yemen kidnappers return Red Cross hostages

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09:58 CEST+02:00
Kidnappers in Yemen have freed three International Red Cross employees, including a Swiss and a Kenyan, along with two Egyptian hostages, following tribal mediation, a local official said on Thursday.

"We have managed to obtain the release of the five hostages kidnapped by the Al-Marakisha tribe," who released them overnight Wednesday, said Abdellatif Sayed, a local commander with the military-linked Popular Resistance Committees.

The ICRC confirmed the release of its three workers — the Swiss and Kenyan as well as their Yemeni interpreter — saying they "are now safely back with their colleagues in Aden," the main city of the south.
   
"We are relieved and extremely happy to have our colleagues back with us,"
said Cedric Schweizer, who heads the ICRC delegation in Yemen, thanking "all those who gave us their support unconditionally with the aim of getting our
colleagues back safe and sound."
   
The Kenyan and Swiss hostages were seized 
on Monday with their Yemeni interpreter in the southern city of Jaar, which was held by loyalists of Al-Qaeda for 12 months until it was recaptured by the army in June last year.
   
A week earlier members of the same Al-Marakisha tribe kidnapped two
Egyptian technicians working at a cement factory in southern Yemen.
   
The hostage-takers called for the release of a fellow tribesman being held
by the Yemeni authorities.
   
Sayed said all five hostages had been handed over by their kidnappers and
that he had promise to put their demand to the highest authorities in Sanaa.
   
Hundreds of people have been abducted in Yemen over the past 15 years,
almost all of who have been freed unharmed.
   
Most kidnappings of foreigners are carried out by members of Yemen's
powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government.

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