The five German hostages held in Yemen should be released later Thursday, said the deputy governor of the province where they were kidnapped. "The negotiations are progressing well and we expect them to be released in the coming hours," said deputy governor of Shabwa province, Nasser Ba'oum, told The Associated Press.
Armed tribesmen kidnapped a former German diplomat and four members of his family on Wednesday as they were touring the mountains of eastern Yemen. The kidnappers demanded that the Yemeni government release detained members of their al-Abdullah bin Dahha tribe, said Yemeni officials.
The Germany Foreign Ministry named the German hostages as former Deputy Foreign Minister Juergen Chrobog, his wife and three children. The vacationing family was traveling in a two-car convoy when a group of gunmen surrounded their vehicles, forced them into the kidnappers' cars and sped off, said government officials in Shabwa province. The tour operator engaged by the Chrobog family said Thursday it had contacted the hostages through the mobile phone of their tour guide who was seized with them.
"We spoke with the family ... at 8 a.m. today our time, and they are well," Mohammed Abdulkarim Abu Taleb told Germany's ARD television. "We have learned that these negotiations have just started with the kidnappers and the negotiators who were sent by the Interior Ministry,” reports the AP. I.L.