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Fri 19 Dec 2008 03:41 PM

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Yemeni tribesmen release German hostages

Kidnappers hand three Germans over to gov't representatives, official sources say.

Yemeni tribesmen have released three Germans they had abducted earlier this week, a Yemeni government official said on Friday.

The three Germans were handed over to government representatives, said the source without giving details.

The tribesmen had abducted the Germans - a woman who officials said worked for the United Nations and her parents - to press for an end to a land dispute with another tribe and the release of jailed fellow tribesmen, Yemeni sources had said.

Disgruntled tribesmen have often kidnapped Western tourists to demand better living conditions, schools and services in the Arabian Peninsula country, one of the poorest outside Africa.

Most have been released unharmed, but in 2000 a Norwegian diplomat was killed in crossfire and in 1998 four Westerners were killed during a botched army attempt to free them from Islamist militants who had seized 16 tourists.

Yemeni authorities had arrested a number of tribesmen related to gunmen holding the three Germans, security sources said on Tuesday.

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