Yemeni captors free Briton

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The Independent Online
JOHN BROOKE, the British oilworker kidnapped in Yemen last week, is due to be reunited with his wife this morning, having been released yesterday by his captors.

He was taken hostage by tribesmen on Saturday night from the oil installation in the north of the country where he was working as an engineer.

His release came as three Islamic guerrillas were put on trial for kidnapping 16 Western tourists last month. Four of the hostages, including three Britons, died during a rescue attempt by Yemeni security forces on 29 December.

The guerrilla leaders yesterday admitted seizing the tourists, saying that they were taken in revenge for the British and American air strikes against Iraq.

News that this latest hostage crisis was over came after Mr Brooke, 46, had been flown by helicopter from an unknown location to the capital, Sanaa. He was taken to the Interior Ministry where he was handed over to the British ambassador, Vic Henderson.

Mr Brooke then telephoned his wife, Katherine. Her first reaction was that she was "totally elated" at the successful end to the abduction. Last night, speaking from the couple's home near Norwich, she added: "I am excited, but nervously so. I need to be able to see him to reassure myself that the news is true."

There were no details of how the crisis was solved. The kidnappers originally demanded the release of a fellow tribesman who was arrested by the Yemeni authorities three months ago on a murder charge.