German hostage freed in Yemen

A German contractor taken hostage in Yemen has been released, a tribal source close to the kidnappers said on Tuesday.

German hostage freed in Yemen
A file photo of Yemeni forces. Photo: DPA

“The kidnappers handed the German hostage over to tribal mediators an hour ago,” the source told news agency AFP. “They are now on their way to the city Ataq, capital of the eastern

province of Shabwah.”

Army and security forces said earlier on Tuesday said they had located the German oil pipeline engineer and two locals who were kidnapped in Yemen over the weekend.

The three captives were being held by armed tribesmen in a remote mountain village in the province of Shabwah, security forces said. The governer of the province, Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi, had said that he expected the prisoners to be released within the next several hours, news agency DPA reported.

Authorities believe the hostages are in good health.

The engineer, who had been working on a large gas pipeline project in the region, was abducted along with two Yemeni colleagues by tribesmen who demanded the release of an imprisoned clan member.

According to daily Bild on Tuesday, the oil expert is a 56-year-old father of three from the German state of Saxony.

The abduction reportedly took place some 30 kilometres from port city Balhaf, the final destination of the 300-kilometre pipeline the German is said to have been working on.

In December 2008 tribesmen kidnapped a German family of three, also demanding that the government release an imprisoned clan member. The family was released after five days.

Tribes in the unstable country have abducted more than 200 foreigners in the last 15 years, usually making demands of the government in return for the release of their captives.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.