Yemen kidnappers release three Filipino sailors

AFP , Wednesday 4 Apr 2012

Yemeni tribesmen release three Filipino sailors who were were kidnapped two weeks a go by Bani Jabr tribe to demand the release of of a relative, who is in prison in Sanaa

Yemeni tribesmen have released three Filipino sailors kidnapped more than two weeks ago east of Sanaa, a security official said on Wednesday.

"The three Filipinos have been released, thanks to a tribal mediation, and without answering the demands of the kidnappers," said the official requesting anonymity.

The kidnappers had demanded the release of one of their own from jail.

"They are on their way to Sanaa, under protection, and will be handed over to the embassy of their country," said the official.

The three were kidnapped on March 20 in the central province of Marib as they travelled to the far-eastern Mahrah province from which they were to embark on their ship.

The kidnappers belong to the Bani Jabr tribe and are demanding the release of a relative, who is in prison in Sanaa for a "serious criminal offence," according to a then interior ministry statement.

More than 200 people have been abducted in Yemen over the past 15 years, many of them by members of the country's powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips with the authorities.

Almost all of those kidnapped were later freed unharmed.

The three Filipinos were kidnapped few days after a Swiss woman teaching at a foreign language institute in the Red Sea port of Hodeida was abducted by gunmen from her home on March 14 and moved to the eastern province of Shabwa, according to the interior ministry.

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