French hostages kidnapped in Yemen on way home

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Three French hostages kidnapped by Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen more than five months ago are on their way home, a tribal official involved in their release said on Monday.

"They travelled by land to the Sultanate of Oman and will be flying to France from there," the chief who led the mediation efforts with Al-Qaeda militants told AFP.

He said the three former hostages -- two men and a woman -- were in "good health."

Tribal sources had said in July that the french aid workers were seized by Al-Qaeda militants in the Hadramawt town of Seyun, 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of Sanaa.

Several days later, tribal sources said the kidnappers were from Al-Qaeda and were demanding a ransom of $12 million.

On Monday, the tribal chief said a ransom was paid to secure the release of the hostages but did not specify who paid it or how much was paid.

All three were members of the French NGO Triangle Generation Humanitaire and first disappeared on May 28.

Early Monday, the French presidency announced their release and expressed its thanks to neighbouring Oman for assisting in securing their freedom.

© 2011 AFP

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