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Published: Saturday January 25, 2014 MYT 11:00:01 PM
Updated: Saturday January 25, 2014 MYT 11:00:01 PM

Yemeni official says diplomat's body found, but Iranian report denies it

SANAA (Reuters) - An Iranian embassy official kidnapped in the Yemeni capital Sanaa in July was found beheaded in central Yemen on Saturday, a provincial official said.

But Iran's Student News Agency (ISNA) quoted an Iranian embassy official as denying that the headless body belonged to the missing employee, kidnapped by armed men while he was travelling through the diplomatic quarter of Sanaa in July.

"Yemen officials have announced they are still following up on release as soon as possible of Noor Ahmad Nikbakht and according to (their) latest information he is in good health," ISNA said.

The Yemeni official, who asked not be named, said local people found the body of the diplomat in an area of oil fields in northern Maarib province.

Local residents had apparently been in contact with the kidnappers, who had been moving him around the area in recent weeks, he said.

The official said the condition of the body suggested the diplomat had been killed at least a day earlier. The body was taken for forensic examination in Sanaa.

(Addition reporting by Mehrdad Balali; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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