CANBERRA, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has praised the Sultan of Oman for his efforts to free an Australian soccer coach who was kidnapped in Yemen last October.

The Australian man, Craig McAllister, had been coaching an under-16 soccer team in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa for two years before his kidnapping.

Omani authorities reported on Wednesday an Australian citizen had been located in Yemen after negotiations with local tribes, and had been transferred to Oman.

"I deeply appreciate the efforts of officials from across government who continue to provide the family assistance and of many other parties in Australia and overseas," Bishop said in Canberra Thursday.

"I particularly thank His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said, the Sultan of Oman, for Oman's work to locate and receive the Australian national into Oman."

Bishop's office said the Australian government would make no further comments on the issue.

"The family has asked for privacy, and I ask others to respect their wishes," she said.

Yemen, the impoverished Arab country in the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, has been involved in civil war since two years ago. The war pits Iranian-allied dominant Houthi movement, backed by forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, against their foe of Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Sanaa, the capital, and most of the northern provinces are under control of Houthi movement.

The war and airstrikes have killed more than 10,000 Yemenis, half of them civilians, and displaced over 2 millions, according to UN humanitarian agencies. The Australian government has a warning against travelling to Yemen in place.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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