Third German child taken in Yemen thought dead: family

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The brother of two German girls kidnapped in Yemen last year and freed by Saudi security forces is probably dead and there is no word on the fate of the parents, a family spokesman told AFP Tuesday.

"There is one missing ... We have to assume that the boy is no longer alive," said Reinhard Poetschke, a family spokesman.

According to media reports, the boy was one and the two girls freed are aged four and six.

German officials in January gave the ages of the three children as one, three and five.

The two girls will be brought back to relatives as quickly as possible, Poetschke said, adding: "We are in constant contact with the foreign ministry."

Relatives were informed on Monday that the pair had been freed, Poetschke said.

Earlier Tuesday, the Saudi interior ministry announced the release of the pair, kidnapped in Yemen last year, following an apparent cross-border military operation.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement: "We are relieved that the Saudi security forces have succeeded in freeing two of our five compatriots kidnapped in Yemen."

He said the girls would return to Germany on Wednesday.

"The two little girls are currently under the protection of the Saudi authorities. They are doing well given the difficult circumstances."

During a brief trip to Sanaa in January, Westerwelle said that Yemeni authorities had told him they knew the whereabouts of the family.

At the time, German media reported that the kidnappers were demanding a ransom.

© 2010 AFP

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