Kidnapped French aid workers freed in Yemen

In Yemen, al-Qaeda militants have freed three French aid workers who were kidnapped almost six months ago.

The two men and one woman worked for the French charity Triangle Génération Humanitaire.

An unnamed tribal official who led the mediation efforts told Agence France Presse the three were in good health:

"They traveled by land to the Sultanate of Oman and will be flying to France from there.”

The three were abducted by suspected al-Qaeda militants on May 28 in the Hadramawt town of Seyun, 600 kilometers east of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The office of the French president Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed their release last night, and thanked the Sultan of Oman for helping to secure their freedom.

A statement from Sarkozy's office said:

"The president warmly thanks the Sultan of Oman and the Omanese authorities for their crucial help, as well as all those who contributed to this happy resolution."

The tribal chief said Monday a ransom was paid to secure the hostage’s release, but did not specify how much was paid, or who footed the bill.

Earlier reports said the kidnappers were demanding a ransom of $12 million.

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In September, the three appeared in an online video, saying the demands of their abductors had not been met, the BBC reported.

The circumstances surrounding their release remain unclear.