Qaeda militants release Saudi diplomat: Tribe |
Gulf Today - 13 August, 2012
Al Qaeda-linked militants have released a Saudi Arabian diplomat kidnapped in southern Yemen in March, a tribal source said on Sunday, after mediation by local tribal leaders.
Abdallah Al Khalidi, the deputy consul in the Saudi consulate in the Yemeni port city of Aden, was kidnapped by militants demanding a ransom and the release of women prisoners held in the kingdom.
“Tribal mediators received the Saudi diplomat (late on Saturday) and he will be moved to Sanaa in the next few hours,” Sheikh Tareq Al Fadli, a tribal chief, said.
The terms of Khalidi’s release were not clear.
Meanwhile, another agency reported the planned release of Khalidi fell through at the last minute, when his captors doubled their ransom demand, a tribal mediator said on Sunday.
“This last-minute reversal was due to differences between the members of Al Qaeda on the amount demanded for the ransom for the liberation of the diplomat,” the mediator said, adding that the amount originally agreed was $ 10 million, but the captors now want $ 20 million. He said that the hostage was taken overnight to the southern province of Abyan to be released, but he was later taken back to neighbouring Shabwa.
Khalidi had appeared in two videos posted on the Internet after his abduction begging King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to meet his captors’ demand for the release of women detainees.
A militant who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in May had threatened to kill Khalidi unless a ransom was paid and Al Qaeda prisoners were freed from Saudi jails.
Meanwhile, a Swiss woman being held hostage in eastern Yemen has made a second video appeal to the Swiss government to help her, the Sonntags Zeitung reported Sunday.
The Swiss foreign ministry confirmed the existence of the video but would give no further information to protect the woman’s security.
It was the second video appeal by the woman who was reportedly snatched from her home in March in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida by armed men, who then transferred her to Shabwa province, far to the east.
In May she appealed to the Swiss authorities to help secure her release and confirmed she was being held by Al Qaeda combatants.