SANAA (Reuters) – Yemeni security forces freed seven Yemeni hostages and one foreigner in a special operation in which seven Al-Qaeda kidnappers were also killed, the country’s supreme security committee said.
The committee, in a statement published by state news agency Saba, did not disclose the nationality of the foreign hostage nor say where in Yemen the operation took place.
It was not immediately clear when or where the kidnappings had occurred.
One member of the Yemeni security forces was lightly wounded in the raid.
Kidnapping is very common in US-allied Yemen, where the country is battling with an insurgency from Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda, a southern separatist movement and sporadic conflicts with armed tribes.
Ansar al-Sharia, the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, have also come under more pressure recently after Shiite Houthi fighters captured the capital Sanaa in September and then pushed into Al-Qaeda strongholds in central Yemen.
Hostage-taking is sometimes carried out by militants specifically targeting Westerners, but is also used as a tactic by tribesmen to resolve disputes with the government, and by opportunists hoping to sell hostages on to other groups.
Earlier this month, the United Nations said a Sierra Leonean water engineer who was working in the Arabian Peninsula country on a sanitation project had been freed after more than a year following his kidnapping by unidentified armed men.