Yemen: Alessandro Spadotto freed and in good health

Carabinieri officer was kidnapped Sunday. Terzi pleased

03 August, 10:03

(ANSAmed) - ROME, AUGUST 3 - Alessandro Spadotto, the Carabinieri officer kidnapped Sunday in Yemen's capital Sanaa, has been freed. He is in good health and is currently travelling to Sanaa from Marib, the oil region east of the capital where he was being held captive.

The officer, a native of the north-eastern Friuli Venezia Giulia region, was deployed as security staff at the Italian embassy in Sanaa. He was apprehended by armed men with the Jalal tribal clan while he was on a personal errand in civilian clothes in a store.

The news of his release was given in Italy by the president of the Italian-Yemeni association, Arhab al-Sarhi.

The officer's father Augusto Spadotto, a retired Carabinieri official who lives in San Vito al Tagliamento, confirmed to ANSA on the phone that his son has been released: "It is all true, confirmation has come from the Farnesina", the Italian Foreign Ministry. "We are extremely happy".

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi also expressed "great satisfaction", stressing the "quick solution to the case, made possible by the extraordinary cooperation provided by authorities in Sanaa".

"This is once again a success due to the intense work and great professional skills of officials with the crisis unit of the Farnesina and all state structures involved", said the foreign minister.

Forty eight hours after he was kidnapped, Spadotto had written a text message to his fiancée saying he was fine and not to worry and had been subsequently located by Yemeni authorities in the volatile Marib province, an oil region east of the capital at the centre of clashes between government forces and local tribes carrying out attacks against oil and gas pipelines.

Spadotto was seized by a member of the Al-Jalal tribe in the area. Ali Nasser Hariqdane, also accused of banditry, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, asking the Yemeni government for immunity and a ransom. In a statement to the Yemeni news agency Maareb Press, the man said he would not demand anything from Italy and had seized Spadotto "only as a way to put the Yemeni government under pressure" - words which had given authorities hope for a quick solution to the case.

The Yemeni Olympic Committee in London had also called for the Carabinieri officer's release slamming the kidnapping as "an act nobody can approve, which goes against our traditions".

(ANSAmed).

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