German hostage freed in Yemen: state media
A soldier inspects a car at a checkpoint in Sanaa - Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

SANAA: Yemeni tribesmen have freed a German man who was kidnapped in the capital Sanaa in late January, state news agency Saba reported on Tuesday.

Rudiger Schwidt, who is in his 60s, was abducted by a tribesman pressing authorities to release his two detained sons, according to a foreign ministry official.

“The German hostage who had been held in (the eastern) Marib province has been released,” Saba said in a text message sent to reporters in Yemen.

Schwidt is reportedly suffering from lung cancer and needs urgent treatment, but no information was immediately available on his health condition.

In March, Schwidt appeared in a short video shown on a private television channel along with a kidnapper wielding a Kalashnikov rifle.

Saba said he had been released thanks to “efforts made by the governor of Yemen’s Al-Jawf province” in the northeast.

Al-Jawf governor Mohammed bin Abboud belongs to Al-Ashraf tribe in Marib.

Sources close to the mediators told AFP that Schwidt was freed after Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi ordered the release of one of the kidnapper’s sons.

Hundreds of people have been snatched in Yemen over the past 15 years, mostly by tribesmen who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the government. Nearly all have later been freed unharmed.

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