Yemeni tribesmen have freed an Uzbek doctor they had abducted eight months ago in protest against an airstrike on their area, a local official said early Monday.

The man was handed to mediators late Sunday and was on his way to the capital Sanaa, the official told Reuters.

It was not immediately clear whether the government had agreed to the kidnappers' demand to hold accountable those responsible for the airstrike against al Qaeda suspects in December 2009 which killed dozens of people.

Kidnappings of foreigners and Yemenis are common in Yemen, where hostages are often used by disgruntled tribesmen to press demands on authorities.

In late February, tribesmen had lured Abdulhamid Jun out of the hospital where he worked in Shabwa province, an area of central Yemen where both separatists and al Qaeda militants are active, by asking him to treat relatives they said were injured.

He was then abducted and taken to the neighboring Abyan province, site of the airstrike.

Yemen, which shares a border with top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, launched a major crackdown on al Qaeda's Yemen-based regional arm after it claimed an attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound plane in December 2009.

(Reporting by Mohamed Sudam; Writing by Firouz Sedarat)