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Yemeni Tribesmen Free French Woman Kidnapped Last Month

  • Reuters

FILE - Yemeni activists held a banner with pictures of kidnapped French Isabelle Prime (r) and her Yemeni colleague during a protest for their release in Sanaa, Yemen, March 5, 2015.

FILE - Yemeni activists held a banner with pictures of kidnapped French Isabelle Prime (r) and her Yemeni colleague during a protest for their release in Sanaa, Yemen, March 5, 2015.

Yemeni tribesmen on Thursday freed a French woman and a Yemeni woman kidnapped last month in the capital Sanaa, tribal sources told Reuters.

Frenchwoman Isabelle Prime, a consultant for Yemen's Social Fund for Development, and her Yemeni translator Shereen Makawi were abducted by gunmen in downtown Sanaa while the pair were on their way to work.

It was not immediately clear whether they were freed as a result of weeks of talks between local officials and tribesmen in Khawlan, a sparsely policed mountainous area outside the capital, or whether a ransom was paid.

Makawi wrote on her Facebook page that she was safe but had suffered mistreatment in captivity.

"Praise be to God, who answered me when my body faced all kinds of mistreatment, humiliation and beating,'' she said, without elaborating.

It was not immediately clear where the two women were on Thursday following their release.

In recent years tribesmen have often taken foreigners hostage to press the government to provide them with services or to free jailed relatives.

Yemen is also home to one of the most active branches of al-Qaida, to which tribal kidnappers have reportedly often sold their kidnapping victims.

The impoverished Arabian Peninsula country has been in turmoil since Shi'ite Muslim Houthi militias seized Sanaa last September. It dissolved the Yemeni parliament last month, raising fears of a full-blown civil war.

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