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Dutch couple held hostage released in Yemen

Judith Spiegel and Boudewijn Berendsen, who disappeared in Sanaa in June, freed and in good health, Dutch ministry says.

Last updated: 10 Dec 2013 11:04
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The couple appealed for help in a video, saying their captors have threatened to kill them [Reuters]

A Dutch couple held hostage in Yemen since June have been released in good health, the Yemeni and Dutch governments confirmed.

Freelance journalist Judith Spiegel, who had been working in Yemen as a researcher, and her partner Boudewijn Berendsen disappeared after they left their home in Sanaa in June.

The couple appealed for help to secure their release in a video that was posted on YouTube, saying their captors had threatened to kill them in days unless the Dutch government met unspecified demands.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

A joint statement by the two governments, read out on state television on Tuesday, said the couple were in good health and had been received by the Dutch ambassador.

They are due to fly to the Netherlands on Wednesday. The Dutch Foreign Ministry said they were released at the weekend.

Several Westerners have been kidnapped this year in Yemen as well as a number of Yemenis.

Disgruntled tribesmen often take hostages to press the government to free jailed relatives or improve public services.

Al Qaeda-linked fighters have been behind some of the kidnappings.

Yemen is struggling to maintain stability after mass protests in 2011 that forced out veteran President Ali Adbullah Saleh.

Besides being the base for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is also grappling with attacks on security forces, a northern rebellion and secessionists in the south.

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