Sunday, April 22, 2012

International Committee of Red Cross aide abducted in Yemen

SANAA/ADEN (Reuters) - Armed men kidnapped a French official of the International Committee of the Red Cross as he was travelling from north Yemen to the Red Sea port city of Hudaida, the ICRC said on Sunday.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the kidnapping but seizing foreigners or Yemenis in order to secure releases of jailed relatives is common in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state. Most hostages are freed unharmed.

Dibeh Fakhr, an ICRC spokeswoman in Sanaa, said the Frenchman, who works in the northern city of Saada, was kidnapped late on Saturday some 30 km (18 miles) from Hudaida.

"He was with two Yemeni drivers who the kidnappers released shortly afterwards," Fakhr said. "Until now we have no contact with the kidnappers or our employee."