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UAE Armed Forces rescue British hostage in Yemen

UAE Armed Forces rescue British hostage in Yemen

The hostage Douglas Robert Semple, a 64-year old petroleum engineer, was working in the Hadramaut area when he was kidnapped

The United Arab Emirates Armed Forces have freed a British citizen who was kidnapped in Yemen by the Islamist group Al Qaeda, state news agency WAM reported.

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and the deputy commander of UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan said that the hostage was rescued in a military intelligence operation by the UAE in Aden.

Douglas Robert Semple, a 64-year old petroleum engineer, was working in the Hadramaut area when he was kidnapped in February 2014. It is currently unclear if he was initially taken hostage by Al Qaeda or other groups operating within Yemen.

Yemen, which is home to one of the most active branches of Al Qaeda, has been pushed into anarchy following the capture of parts of the country by the Houthi rebels in September last year. A Saudi-led coalition of Middle Eastern countries is currently conducting air strikes against the rebels.

Following his release, Semple was flown to the UAE via a military aircraft and was received by officials at the Abu Dhabi airport. He will be flown to the United Kingdom after under going a medical check up, authorities said.

The WAM report did not provide additional details about the mission but mentioned that the UAE Armed Forces operating in Aden had reached the location where Semple was held.

Kidnappings of citizens from western countries by Islamist groups are common as they fetch hefty ransoms. Often the hostages are initially captured by the local tribes and then sold to Al Qaeda in return for money.

Gulf states have been instrumental in securing the release of kidnapped hostages in conflict-ridden countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Recently the Oman government was reported to have helped free a French woman from her captors in Yemen.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia too have previously leveraged their power in negotiating the release of western hostages, media reports suggest.

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