SANAA: A British teacher kidnapped in Yemen earlier this year was released safely yesterday following negotiations by the government in Sanaa, both countries said.
“Mike Harvey, who had been held in Yemen since February, has been released today,” a Foreign Office spokesman in London told AFP. “He has been released safely and he is being supported by staff at the British embassy and they will work to reunite him with his family very soon.”
A Yemeni official said earlier the British hostage, whom he did not name, had been freed in a joint security operation with tribesmen in the Al Juf area northeast of Sanaa.
“He is in good health and on his way to Sanaa,” the official added.
The British spokesman said the release was secured by “the government of Yemen who engaged with tribal intermediaries, which is standard practice”.
“We’re grateful to the government of Yemen for all their support,” he added.
On February 4, witnesses and oil industry sources said a Briton working in the sector had been abducted by gunmen in Sanaa.
“Gunmen in a car kidnapped the British man at around 9:00 am (0600 GMT) near a grocery store in Hada,” a tightly patrolled district in central Sanaa, an official told AFP at the time.
Witnesses said the kidnappers struck their victim on the head with the butt of a rifle, before driving him off.
Hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past 15 years, mostly by tribesmen who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the government.
Nearly all have been freed unharmed.