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|Interior Minister Denies Paying Ransom; German Hostages Released Unharmed|
almasmari ( YEMEN POST STAFF
Article Date: December 22, 2008
Three German hostages were set free after a group of tribal sheikhs led successful mediation efforts, putting an end to six days in captivity.
Minister of Interior Mutahar Rashad Al-Misri denied any financial commitments for the kidnappers and told Yemen Satellite Channel that German hostages were released without any conditions or commitments by state.
Upon arrival to Sana'a, Al-Misri met the kidnapped Germans and apologized to them in the name of the Yemeni government and people. In return, the kidnapped expressed their gratitude to Yemeni security forces and government who worked for releasing them unharmed.
Sources close to the tribal Bani Dhabian Sheikh Abdul Qawi Shareef, the key mediator, noted that Shareef never promised to pay any financial sums for the kidnappers; however, he promised to mediate for meeting legal demands or furnishing development projects.
However, media sources revealed that tribal kidnappers released the three German hostages after Shareef had pledged to pay them $100,000 (some YR 20 million) in compensations for the kidnappers who claim that their piece of land was looted in Sana'a.
Shareef, also serves as the Deputy Governor of Al-Dhale' Province, revealed that he handed over his two cars to the kidnappers to assure them and prove his good will and readiness to meet their legal demands as to releasing the kidnapper's fellow detainees as well as implementing development projects.
Media outlets reported that security apparatuses had started to release the tribesmen who were detained by authorities since Sunday, December 14 – the time at which the kidnapping operation took place.
Sources mentioned that the release operation was a peaceful one and it was made after the tribal mediators offered guarantees to the kidnappers to set free Mohammed Saleh Al-Tam, brother to the key kidnapper Abdu Rabu Al-Tam, and his son who were detained by security forces one month ago.
Abdu Rabu Al-Tam was also involved in a kidnapping operation when he, along with his tribesmen, snatched three engineers affiliated with the Ministry of Education and two students belonging to Al Al-Kumaim family.
By then, tribal mediators managed to convince the tribesmen to release the kidnapped people after pledging to meet their demands which included paying financial compensations mounting to YR 20 million.However, the mediators did not keep their promises and this prompted the kidnappers to take Germans as hostages. The hostages were taken to the kidnappers' homelands in Bani Dhabian, some 40 km to the east of the capital Sana'a. Yemen has seen dozens of kidnapping operations that targeted foreign diplomats, tourists and employees of international agencies. About 95 percent of the kidnapped foreigners were released unharmed and very few cases ended in death or injuries.