Germany’s foreign minister has been told that five German hostages who have been held captive in Yemen since June have at last been located.
Concern has been growing over the couple and their three children after the bodies were discovered of three others taken at the same time.
Guido Westerwelle was told while on a surprise visit to Yemen.
The foreign minister called for their release while spelling out how important economic support was for the Arab world’s poorest state.
“We need to create good politics, to invest in economic progress, enhance social opportunities, and to make sure that Yemen does not become a safe haven for terrorists. But also to make sure that our fight against terrorism is based on excellent politics, for the benefit of the entire world.”
Fears that Yemen, which is battling Shi’ite rebels in the north, is becoming a haven for al Qaeda have led to the launch of a variety of initiatives by the West.
While Westerwelle pledged economic support, training has got underway for Yemen’s new counter terrorism police unit which is being funded by both Britain and the US.
But Yemen’s leading Islamic cleric, Sheik Abdul- Majid al-Zindani, has warned the government against allowing what he called “foreign occupation” of the country in the fight against a resurgent al Qaeda.