The five Italians held hostage in Yemen have been released. The quintet were picked up by helicopter after being set free following five days in captivity. The tourists are said to be in good health despite their ordeal at the hands of tribesmen who were demanding the release of members of their families from prison. The two men and three women were captured on Sunday in the region of Marib.
There are reports that at least four hostage-takers have been captured. The Italians were tired but overjoyed to be free. “We were in a sheepfold,” said one of the travellers. “They kept aiming their Kalashnikovs at us.” “We were getting more and more tense,” another explained. “The last two days were unbearable. We didn’t know what was happening. We could not do anything.”
This was the fourth kidnapping of Westerners in Yemen in less than two months. It is unclear whether the authorities agreed to some of the tribesmen’s demands. The government has threatened to execute all those guilty of kidnapping.