December 11, 2013
A Dutch couple kidnapped in Yemen in June have been released, according to the foreign affairs ministry. Journalist Judith Spiegel and Boudewijn Berendsen were taken from their house in Sana’a. The couple returned to the Netherlands on Wednesday.
Spiegel denied speculation that the captors were affiliated with Al Qaeda, saying “…I know there were many rumours that we were in the hands of Al-Qaeda, but I’m not so sure about that.” No information is known regarding their abductors, nor if a ransom was paid to the kidnappers.
AFP reports that hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past 15 years, mostly by tribesman and nearly all of them later freed unharmed. Yemen’s powerful tribes often kidnap foreigners to use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government. Al-Qaeda militants have also seized foreigners in the country.