Kidnapped French Red Cross worker released in Yemen

AFP , Saturday 14 Jul 2012

A French staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross who was kidnapped in Yemen in April has been released in good health, the ICRC said Saturday.

Benjamin Malbrancke was abducted by gunmen on April 21 while on his way to the airport in the port city of Hudaida in Yemen's north. The two drivers with him were also captured at the time but freed shortly after.

"We are revealed and extremely happy that our colleague is back with us and in good health," a statement quoted ICRC director of operations in Yemen Eric Marclay as saying.

He expressed his "profound gratitude to all those who gave us their support over these long weeks and have helped to enable Benjamin to rejoin his family soon".

An ICRC spokesman told AFP that Malbrancke had arrived in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and would be flown back to France as soon as possible.

Foreigners are frequently kidnapped in Yemen by heavily armed tribesmen, who use them as bargaining chips with the authorities. More than 200 people have been abducted in Yemen over the past 15 years. The majority have been freed alive and well.

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