Ex-hostage still "fascinated" with Yemen after abduction ordeal

A German hostage who has been freed by kidnappers in western Yemen said Saturday that the five-day ordeal he went through has not affected his fascination with Yemen, dpa reported.

"It basically does not affect my fascination with your country, my love for your country," Heinrich Thielebein told Yemen's state TV in a brief statement after his release.

Thielebein was taken hostage by tribesmen along with his wife and their daughter, who works for the development aid agency GTZ, during an excursion on December 15.

The kidnappers released the trio Friday after negotiations with a representative of the Yemeni government.

Sources close to the negotiations that led to the hostages' release told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the abductors handed over the hostages to government negotiator Abdul-Qawi Obad after he made pledges to meet their demands.

The abductors demanded the release of two relatives jailed in Sana'a over the kidnapping of five local engineers last year.

They also demanded authorities pay him 40 million riyals (200,000 dollars) in compensation for a property in Sana'a, ownership of which is disputed by an influential businessman.

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