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May 25, 2010 12:38 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

U.S. couple released by Yemeni tribe

Two U.S. citizens, a husband and wife, taken hostage by Yemeni tribesmen were released on Tuesday a day after they were seized near the capital Sanaa, a Yemeni government official said.

"The Americans have been freed and handed over to the mediation committee," a government official told Reuters.

The couple arrived in Yemen Saturday on a flight from Dubai.

Kidnappings are frequent in Yemen and are usually carried out by disgruntled tribesmen hoping to win concessions from the government. In most of those cases, the captives are freed unharmed. In the past few years, however, al-Qaida has begun kidnapping foreigners as well, sometimes with lethal results.

They often take place outside the heavily guarded capital, underlining the fragility of security in rural areas. It is this weak government authority outside San'a that's allowed al-Qaida militants to seek refuge in the impoverished Arab nation in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, thus posing a threat to the interests of the West and its allies in a strategic part of the Middle East.

The U.S. State Department said Monday's kidnapping was apparently not an act of terrorism.

 

 

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