MUSCAT (AFP) - Three French hostages kidnapped by Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen more than five months ago were on their way home on Monday after being freed on payment of a ransom, tribal sources said. "We, the three of us, are very thankful to his majesty Sultan Qaboos of Oman for his involvement and all the efforts deployed to lead us to freedom and we are very grateful for the great hospitality we have had during our stay in Oman," one of the hostages told reporters on arrival in the capital. "We are very happy to go back to our families and to be finally free," he said, reading a statement. The trio -- two women and a man -- arrived at Al-Seeb airbase near Muscat on an Omani military plane at around midday (0800 GMT), and gave a brief statement before boarding a French plane to Paris. They have not been identified. The former hostages were greeted at the military airbase by France's ambassador to Oman, Malika Berak, who said the French citizens were healthy and thanked Sultan Qaboos for his efforts in securing their release. The aid workers flew in from the Omani city of Salalah, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) south of the capital and near the border with Yemen, a tribal official involved in their release told AFP. The male hostage sported a beard and one of the women was wearing a long skirt while the other wore pants. A Yemeni businessman, Ahmed ben Ferid al-Souraimeh, who was exiled to Oman in the 1990s and who worked for the hostages' release, accompanied the French citizens on the plane. On Monday, a tribal source told AFP that the hostages had travelled to Salalah by car from where they were being held in Yemen's Shabwa province. In a telephone interview after the aid workers boarded a plane to Paris, tribal chief Ali Abdel Salam said he had the task of ensuring all three hostages were driven safely from Al-Qaeda strongholds in Yemen's lawless regions across the border to Oman. "I drove all three of them, one at a time, accompanied by my two brothers," he said. The process of releasing the captives held by Al-Qaeda since May 28 began last Tuesday and only ended when the last hostage was handed over to Omani officials on Saturday night. The aid workers disappeared on May 28 and, according to a tribal source who helped arrange their freedom, were moved to several different hide-outs in their months of captivity. They were kidnapped in Yemen's Hadramawt province and remained captive in the town of Seyun, 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of Sanaa, for several weeks before being moved to a farm in Loder, an Al-Qaeda stronghold in the restive Abyan province.