Saudi Diplomat Held in Yemen Freed

Saudi Diplomat Held in Yemen FreedSaudi Diplomat Held in Yemen Freed

A Saudi diplomat returned to Riyadh on Monday after he was released by kidnappers in Yemen where he spent three years as a hostage, the kingdom’s interior ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

Abdullah al-Khalidi, a deputy consul in the southern port city of Aden was kidnapped on March 28, 2012, Al-Arabiya said in a report.

The ministry did not say in its brief statement how Khalidi came to be released, except that it was a result of “intensive efforts” made by the kingdom’s intelligence agency.

Last September, he appeared in the nearly two-minute video with his head covered and sporting a long beard as he appealed for Riyadh to negotiate his release.

Militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said they seized Khalidi in a bid to secure the release of female prisoners in Saudi Arabia and to raise a ransom. AQAP claimed responsibility for Khalidi’s abduction last April.

AQAP and its parent organization al-Qaeda have sworn to bring down the Saudi state and Riyadh has worked closely with the US to undermine the groups’ operations in Yemen by sharing intelligence, diplomats have said.