Kidnapped Uzbek doctor freed in northern Yemen - local official

Photo: Kidnapped Uzbek doctor freed in northern Yemen - local official / Uzbekistan

An Uzbek doctor kidnapped in northern Yemen last week has been freed, a provincial official said on Saturday, Reuters reported.

The official told Reuters tribal mediators had succeeded in convincing armed tribesmen to release the doctor, who had been abducted last Sunday from the hospital he worked at in Marib province, east of the capital Sanaa.

"He was handed to the mediators who took him to Marib and then he was handed to local officials," the local official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

He refused to say whether a ransom had been paid.

Kidnapping is common in U.S.-allied Yemen, where the government is struggling with an array of security problems: an insurgency by Islamists linked to al Qaeda, a southern separatist movement, fighting in the country's north, and sporadic conflicts with armed tribes.

On Saturday an air strike killed 10 al Qaeda militants and three civilians in central Yemen.

Hostage-taking is sometimes carried out by militants specifically targeting Westerners, but is also used as a tactic by tribesmen to resolve disputes with the government, and by opportunists hoping to sell hostages on to other groups.

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