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Safe and sound Red Cross hostages freed in Yemen

Yemeni soldiers man a checkpoint in Abyan province, where three ICRC workers were kidnapped earlier this week

(Keystone)

Three kidnapped employees of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – reportedly a Swiss, a Kenyan and a Yemeni – have been freed in Yemen, according to ICRC and Yemeni sources.

The hostages, kidnapped on Monday in the southern province of Abyan, were believed to have been taken by armed men from the Marakicha tribe, which had kidnapped two Egyptian workers a week before.

The ICRC’s head of operations for the Middle East confirmed his colleagues' release via Twitter.

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Cédric Schweizer, head of the Yemeni delegation of the ICRC, said he was “relieved” and thanked those who helped bring his co-workers to safety.

The kidnappers had reportedly been seeking the release of one of their tribesman from the custody of Yemeni authorities. Abdellatif Sayed, a Yemeni official who conducted the mediation that led to the hostages’ release, told the Swiss News Agency that he secured their freedom by promising to bring the case to the country’s highest officials in the capital Sanaa.

The ICRC has been operating in Yemen since 1962 and currently employs about 200 workers in the region. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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