ADEN, Yemen - A Saudi Arabian diplomat who was kidnapped last month by al-Qaida-linked militants is in "good health" and could be released within "the coming hours", a powerful tribal leader in southern Yemen said on Monday.
Riyadh said last week that a suspected al-Qaida militant had claimed responsibility for kidnapping the diplomat, Abdallah al-Khalidi, and demanded the release of militants in Saudi prisons. He threatened in a call to the Saudi embassy in Sanaa to kill the diplomat unless his demands were met.
Sheikh Tareq al-Fadli, a tribal head in Abyan and a prominent leader of Yemen's southern separatist movement, said he had been mediating with the kidnappers for Khaladi's release.
"Things are going well... The man is fine, he is in good health," Fadli told Reuters, adding that he would be released "within the coming hours".
Khalidi, the Saudi deputy consul in the southern Yemen port city of Aden, was seized outside his residence on March 28.