4 French hostages in Yemen freed
The French ambassador to Yemen could not immediately confirm the release of the Frenchmen, who were seized in the town of Ataq.india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 18:08 IST
Four French nationals abducted by Yemeni tribesmen two weeks ago have been freed, police and a lawmaker said on Monday.
The French ambassador to Yemen could not immediately confirm the release of the Frenchmen, who were seized in the town of Ataq, in Shabwa province southeast of Sanaa, on September 10.
But the lawmaker, Awadh Bawazir, a tribal notable, was adamant.
"The kidnappers have freed the French hostages," Bawazir said. "They are free ... I was with them when they were released."
A helicopter had been chartered to take the tourists to Ataq from where they were to travel on to Sanaa, said Bawazir, who has in the past been involved in mediating the release of Western hostages.
The police chief in Chabwa province, Abderrahman Hanache, confirmed the releases.
"The French hostages have been freed," he said, adding that he was awaiting their arrival in Ataq, along with the mediators.
"They will then be taken to Sanaa by plane," the police chief added.
The French foreign ministry in Paris said it had yet to be formally notified of the releases.
Newly re-elected Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had said on Sunday that the four tourists would be released "within hours".