January 28, 2016 / 8:39 AM / 2 years ago

Kidnapped Al Jazeera journalists freed in Yemen: network

DUBAI (Reuters) - Two journalists and a driver working for the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera Arabic TV channel were freed in Yemen on Thursday, the network said, ten days after they were abducted by gunmen in the war-torn southwestern city of Taiz.

The Doha-based channel said in a news report on its website that correspondent Hamdi Al-Bokari, cameraman Abdulaziz Al-Sabri and driver Moneer Al-Sabai were released by their captors, whose identity remains unclear.

Fighters loyal to Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi are battling Iran-allied Houthi militia and loyalists of the country’s former leader in a war that has raged for nine months and in which some 6,000 people have been killed.

Al Jazeera, whose reporting of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings won it millions of viewers in the Middle East, has seen several of its journalists detained and killed in recent years in conflicts across the region.

Qatar is a member of the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi, which is seeking to advance on the capital Sanaa through Taiz from its base in the southern port city of Aden, captured from the Houthis in July.

Hadi and his government are based in Yemen’s second largest city Aden, where gunmen widely believed to be Islamist militants have assassinated dozens of policemen and security officials in recent months.

Dozens of armored vehicles accompanied by troops from the United Arab Emirates arrived in Aden’s port on Wednesday, security officials said.

“The deployment of the vehicles and soldiers is part of a comprehensive plan to combat the security vacuum and the assassination cells who have been operating in the city,” a Yemeni security official said.

Representatives of the Saudi-led coalition did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the landing.

Reporting By Noah Browning, Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf; editing by John Stonestreet

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