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German Diplomat Released in Yemen

September 24, 2001

SAN`A, Yemen (AP) _ A German diplomat kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen was released on Monday after spending nearly two months in captivity, the German Embassy said.

Rainer Berns, the mission’s commercial attache, was healthy after being released following tribal mediation, an embassy official said on condition of anonymity.

Berns, 55, was released in the eastern province of Marib, where he was being held, and driven to the capital, San`a, where he was handed over to the embassy.

The official said Berns was reunited with his wife and son and was resting.

Authorities have not disclosed the identities of the kidnappers, and it was not immediately clear whether a ransom was paid for Berns’ release.

Five men kidnapped Berns July 27 from a street in a southern suburb of the capital.

Kidnapping foreigners is common in Yemen, a poor and often lawless country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Generally, tribesmen from disadvantaged areas take hostages and demand the release of jailed clansmen or other action from the government. Most hostages have been treated as guests.

On June 13, tribesmen released a German student unharmed after he spent more than two weeks in captivity.

In 1998, however, four foreign hostages were killed in a botched rescue attempt.

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