The five Italian tourists held hostage in Yemen since Sunday have been released unharmed, according to government sources. The two men and three women will now be transported by car to the main city in the province of Marib and then flown to the capital Sanaa by helicopter.
A Yemeni government official said mediation efforts had worked, although there is one report that some of the hostage-takers have been arrested. It is unclear if the authorities have bowed to the tribes’ demands for some of their members to be released from prison. The tribesmen had threatened to kill the five Italians if an attempt was made to free them by force. This was the fourth kidnapping of Westerners in less than two months. Last Saturday five German hostages were released unharmed. In Sanaa people took to the streets earlier this week to express their anger over the wave of kidnappings as the country tries to develop its tourism industry.