Finnish couple Leila (back) and Atte Kaleva (right) and an Austrian student (front) abducted in Yemen by Al-Qaeda militants wave on May 9, 2013 as they leave the airport of the Omani capital Muscat after they were handed over to Omani authorities following their release. The three Europeans, seized in Sanaa on December 21, were freed by local tribesmen on the border with Oman overnight, an Yemeni official said. The Finnish couple and Austrian man abducted in Sanaa, Yemen, on 21 December have been released after over four months in captivity, Erkki Tuomioja (SDP), the Minister for Foreign Affairs, confirmed in a press conference late on Thursday evening. According to Helsingin Sanomat, the couple, Atte and Leila Kaleva, were freed by the kidnappers on Wednesday and are currently in Vienna, Austria, receiving treatment. “They are safe now and will return to their families as soon as possible,” Tuomioja said. Elsewhere, the ministry shed little light on the details of their release and the role of neighbouring Oman in the mediation process, with Tuomioja insisting that abductions necessitate a cautious communication policy. “You must recognise that over ten people abducted last year in Yemen remain missing.” A second press conference is scheduled for this afternoon, with Helsingin Sanomat suggesting that the couple may return to Finland already today.

AFP / Lehtikuva / STR