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'Japanese hostages released by Yemen tribesmen'

world Updated: May 08, 2008 08:40 IST
'Japanese hostages released by Yemen tribesmen'

Yemeni tribesmen have released two Japanese women holidaymakers who were kidnapped on Wednesday while on their way to a tourist site in the region of Marib, a tribal chief said.

"The two hostages have been released," said Sheikh Mohammed Hassan bin Muaili, head of the Muaili tribe, to which the kidnappers belonged.

He told reporters that the two hostages were handed over to Sheikh Hamad bin Ali bin Jalal "who will in turn deliver them to the security authorities".

Sheikh Hamad is a higher-ranking tribal chief in the area. His intervention has secured the release of the two women, Sheikh Mohammed said.

The two Japanese women were kidnapped as they travelled by road to the site of the ancient Marib Dam, a major tourism draw, a local official told AFP earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, the kidnappers "have escaped", Sheikh Mohammed said.