Swiss woman held in Yemen freed following Qatari mediation

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A Swiss woman who was held hostage for nearly a year has been freed by her kidnappers in Yemen following mediation by the Qatari government, the Qatari state news agency QNA reported late on Wednesday.

The teacher had been kidnapped in Yemen’s western area in March 2012 by armed tribesmen.

Their aim was to pressure the Yemeni government to free jailed relatives, according to a Yemeni Interior Ministry official, reported Reuters.

The Qatari foreign minister and the Swiss ambassador in Doha formed the welcoming committee at Doha’s airport. The Swiss national arrived on a private plane from Yemen late on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people have been abducted in a spate of kidnappings across Yemen over the past 15 years. Almost all have been released unharmed however.

In February Yemeni authorities freed a Dutch man held captive for a week after being kidnapped by tribesmen in the country’s west, reported AFP.

The government is still attempting to free to Finns and an Austrian after they were snatched from central Sanaa late last year.

Most kidnappings of foreigners in the impoverished state are carried out by powerful tribes who use the detainees as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government.