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November 15, 2011

Three French hostages released from Yemen

SANAA, Yemen (UPI) -- Three French hostages taken by suspected al-Qaida militants in Yemen were released after being held for more than five months, French officials said Monday. The two women and a man arrived at an airbase in Muscat, Oman, and seemed to be in good health, Radio France Internationale reported The French citizens were accompanied by Yemeni businessman Ahmed al-Souraimeh Ferid Ben, who has been living in exile in Oman since the 1990s. He worked for the hostages' release, RFI said. French President Nicolas Sarkozy thanked the sultan of Oman and Omani authorities for helping secure the release of the hostages, who worked for the non-governmental organization Triangle Generation Humanitaire. They had disappeared May 28. Government and tribal officials said the kidnappers tried to force the Yemeni government into releasing tribal prisoners and pay millions of dollars in ransom, Bikyamasr.com reported. A statement released several weeks ago said the hostages would be killed if the group's demands were ignored.

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