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Sun 12 Aug 2012 10:08 AM

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Kidnapped Saudi diplomat released in Yemen - tribal chief

Deputy consul in Yemen was abducted in March; released secured after mediation efforts

Kidnapped Saudi diplomat released in Yemen - tribal chief
Abdallah al-Khalidi, the Saudi deputy consul in the Yemeni port city of Aden, was abducted in March (Image for illustrative purposes).

Al Qaeda-linked militants released on Saturday night a Saudi Arabian diplomat they kidnapped in southern Yemen, a tribal source told Reuters, adding that his release was secured after tribal mediation efforts.

Abdallah al-Khalidi, the Saudi deputy consul in the Yemeni port city of Aden, was abducted in March.

"Tribal mediators received the Saudi diplomat and he will be moved to Sanaa in the next few hours," said Sheikh Tareq al-Fadli, a tribal chief.

In May, a militant who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping threatened to kill Khalidi unless a ransom was paid and al Qaeda prisoners were freed from Saudi jails. The terms of Khalidi's release were not clear.

Kidnapping is common in Yemen, frequently in the context of regional or tribal disputes with Yemeni authorities. The victims are sometimes held for ransom, particularly if they are foreigners.

Yemen has been mired in political and security turmoil since popular protests broke out last year and led to the ousting of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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