French hostage in Yemen appeals for release

June 2, 2015 4:45 am 

SANAA, June 1 — A French woman who was kidnapped in Yemen earlier this year has appeared for the first time in an online video appealing to the French and Yemeni governments for her release.

"Please bring me back to France because I'm really tired. I tried to commit suicide several times. Please help me," the woman, who identified herself as Isabelle Prime, said in a video that appeared online on Monday, addressing French president Francois Hollande and Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Prime said she was kidnapped 10 weeks ago in Sanaa in Yemen. It is not clear when or where the video was recorded; its authenticity has yet to be verified.

In the 21-second video, the 30-year-old woman, dressing in black, sits on the ground in the desert.

Prime, a consultant for Yemen's Social Fund for Development, was kidnapped along with her Yemeni translator, Shereen Makawi, on Feb. 24 on their way to work.

Yemeni security officials had said earlier that the two were released on March 19, but Prime's release was not confirmed at the time by the French government.

However, Makawi, the translator, was indeed released and said that she returned to Sanaa in late March.

Security in Yemen worsened after the Shiite Houthi group took over control of Sanaa last September after deadly clashes with government forces.

The impoverished country has seen battles and air strikes since March 26 where Saudi-led coalition forces started military operations in Yemen, aiming to reinstate the legitimate government of Hadi who is taking refuge in Riyadh.

All countries, including France, have closed their diplomatic missions in Sanaa and evacuated their diplomatic staff.

Foreigners, especially those from Western countries, are frequently kidnapped by al-Qaida militants and tribesmen in Yemen. Most of the hostages were released unharmed after ransoms were paid. (PNA/Xinhua)



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