• Germany's news in English

Kidnapped German girls rescued in Yemen

AFP · 18 May 2010, 11:21

Published: 18 May 2010 08:41 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 May 2010 11:21 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Germany welcomed news of the releases while a relative of the family said they presumed the brother is dead. There was no word on the fate of the parents or of a Briton abducted along with them.

Saudi interior ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki told AFP that the two rescued girls are in Saudi Arabia.

"Their condition is okay. But they are in the hospital to make sure they get any medical care they might need," he said.

A ministry statement released on the SPA news agency said the girls were freed on Monday.

"Security forces in communication with Yemen counterparts were able to recover two German girls in the border region between the two countries on Monday," the statement said. "They were part of a group kidnapped by criminal elements last year," it added.

According to Turki, the girls were part of a group of seven Germans, a Briton and a South Korean seized in Yemen's northern mountains in June last year.

They were captured in Saada province, the scene of a longstanding conflict between government forces and Zaidi Shiite rebels.

The bodies of two German women, both of them Bible students, and the South Korean were found soon after the abduction, raising fears for the safety of the remaining hostages - the Briton and the German family.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the girls would return to Germany on Wednesday.

"We are relieved that the Saudi security forces have succeeded in freeing two of our five compatriots kidnapped in Yemen," he said in a statement.

"The two little girls are currently under the protection of the Saudi authorities. They are doing well given the difficult circumstances. They should be returning to Germany tomorrow," he added.

German officials in January gave the ages of the three children as one, three and five.

Turki said he had no information on the four remaining hostages, but indicated that the operation by Saudi special forces and intelligence is ongoing.

"We don't have any idea about the others," he said. "I believe the operation still has some objectives to achieve."

However, a family spokesman in Germany said that the brother was probably dead while there was no word on the fate of the parents.

"There is one missing ... We have to assume that the boy is no longer alive," said Reinhard Poetschke.

The rescue announcement came after unconfirmed reports from Yemen on Tuesday that Saudi forces had crossed the border into a Yemeni village and that Saudi military helicopters were flying over the area.

Story continues below…

Turki said he could not provide any details of the operation.

"This was a special security forces and intelligence operation," he said. "It was a humanitarian effort and a job that we could take on."

In January, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi said that the government had determined that the five Germans and the Briton were being held in Saada, the northern city at the centre of fighting between government troops and Zaidi rebels.

He said at the time that the government was conducting negotiations for their release.

Then in early April, after the rebels and the government had struck a ceasefire deal on February 12, Yemen's deputy prime minister for defence Rashad al-Alimi said the government was still pressing efforts to secure their release.

"Efforts are continuing, in coordination with the German and British g overnments, to liberate the hostages and end their ordeal," Alimi said, according to the defence ministry's official website.

He also reassured the hostages' families about the health of their loved ones, the website added without elaborating.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

08:56 May 18, 2010 by arquiwhat
Just wondering, what where these guys doing in the Northern mountains of Yemen? Doesn't sound like a place to take your kids on holiday...
14:29 May 18, 2010 by dbert4
"what where these guys doing in the Northern mountains of Yemen?"

They were where they didn't belong is what they were doing there! Their parents were Evangelical do-gooders working in a hospital there and proselytizing to the locals.

Happy for the two little girls, too bad about the "little man" sheit!

If their parents survive, they should be shot for putting their children in such a situation.
15:46 May 18, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
KSK earning it's pay.
18:01 May 18, 2010 by Zlik
Although the whereabouts of others remains a mystery. It sure beats the days when actual video accounts of jugular vein slitting done by /religious? and political, " here is our revenge".
21:46 May 18, 2010 by ColoSlim
Ouch what a thing to do your family and what a tragedy and totally avoidable? This doesn't make any sense. This is like when your teenager explains how something bad happened to him, but he omits the part about how foolish he had been to get himself into the situation.
14:26 May 19, 2010 by Joshontour
Wow, such a progressive point of view. Blame the evil "do-gooders" instead of the innocent, law abiding kidnappers. Your enlightenment is phenomenal.
18:34 May 20, 2010 by Hebbellover

"what where these guys doing in the Northern mountains of Yemen?" "They were where they didn't belong is what they were doing there! Their parents were Evangelical do-gooders working in a hospital there and proselytizing to the locals."

I was wondering what your opinion was of Islamic "do-gooders" in Europe?
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd