The two young German girls who were freed after 11 months of captivity in Yemen are on their way back to Germany, a statement by the Saudi government said on Wednesday.
The girls, aged four and six, were freed during a joint Yemeni—Saudi security operation in the troubled north—west province of Saada earlier this week and taken across the border into Saudi Arabia.
“Four German officials and three family members are accompanying the girls on their journey,” the government statement said.
Medical tests showed that the girls are in good health, said Volkamar Wenzel, the German ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
“The girls are in good care and are doing well considering the difficulties they have been through, and they are expected to return to Germany today,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement published by Saudi papers on Wednesday.
The girls were seized along with their parents, younger brother, two other German women, a South Korean female teacher and a British engineer on June 12, 2009.
The group was in Yemen for a Christian relief organization called Worldwide Services and had been working at a hospital in Saada.
The two German women and the South Korean were found dead three days later. There has been no word about the fate of the girls’ parents, one—year—old brother or the Briton.
Yemen’s government had blamed Houthi rebels for the kidnapping, but rebel leaders denied they were involved.