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French Hostage Is Freed in Yemen

  • VOA News

FILE - Women hold posters bearing likenesses of Frenchwoman Isabelle Prime and her Yemeni translator, Shereen Makawi, during a protest to demand their release in San'aa, Yemen, March 9, 2015.

FILE - Women hold posters bearing likenesses of Frenchwoman Isabelle Prime and her Yemeni translator, Shereen Makawi, during a protest to demand their release in San'aa, Yemen, March 9, 2015.

A French social development consultant held hostage in Yemen since February has been freed and will soon return home.

A statement from French President Francois Hollande's office said he shared the joy of the family of Isabelle Prime and that his government made every effort to achieve this "happy outcome."

The statement also thanked the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos Bin Said, for his help, but gave no details about how and why Prime was freed.

Prime was a consultant with a project partly funded by the World Bank when she and her translator were kidnapped in Sana'a in February. The translator was freed weeks later.

She was seen in a video in May, crouching in the sand and appealing to French authorities to rescue her.

It is unclear who was holding Prime, but Yemeni tribesmen have had a history of kidnapping Westerners as bargaining chips in negotiations with the government. Nearly all eventually were freed unharmed and said they were well-treated.

But a U.S. journalist and a South African teacher were killed in December when U.S. forces tried to rescue them from their al-Qaida kidnappers in Yemen. U.S. officials said they were killed by the terrorists.

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