Kidnapped Swede Set Free in Yemen
Armed Yemeni tribesmen released on Thursday an ailing Swedish technician after an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks, a government official said.
"Anders Salenius was released Thursday. He is in the care of authorities from Maarib province who have taken him to a Maarib hotel so he can rest before returning to Sanaa," an official from the governorate 170 kilometers (106 miles) east of the capital told AFP.
"He was freed peacefully and he's doing well," the official said without elaborating, adding that the Swede was expected in the capital in the afternoon.
Tribal sources told AFP that Salenius, who suffers from diabetes, had been released at dawn.
Salenius, 68, was snatched on November 12 while working on the construction of an electricity plant north of Sanaa, a World Bank-financed project.
It was not immediately clear if the kidnappers' demands had been met and the government official refused to comment on the subject, saying only that Salenius had been "released safe and sound and will return to Sanaa".
Armed men from the Al-Zaidi tribe took him to the remote mountains of Suweida-Mahjaza, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Sanaa.
Letters from Salenius to his wife begging for help to secure his release and saying he was in bad health have been published in the Swedish press.
The kidnappers were reportedly demanding that the Yemeni government return a plot of land in the southern port city of Aden that they say was confiscated from the leader of the tribe, Yahia al-Zaidi.
They were also demanding jobs in the oil sector for tribal members as well as the payment of school fees and compensation for damage sustained by their houses both during the May-July 1994 civil war and floods five years earlier, a tribal source said.
Yemeni authorities rejected the demands, dubbing them "excessive and not even worthy of being examined" and urging the release of the hostage without condition.
More than 200 foreigners, mostly Western nationals, have been abducted by Yemen's unruly tribes in the last decade. They are usually used as bargaining chips in disputes with the Sanaa government or with foreign oil companies.
Almost all hostage-takings have been resolved without bloodshed through mediation between the authorities and tribes, and the kidnap victims are generally well-treated – SANAA (AFP)
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