In Yemen, Red Cross staff member goes free

The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Yemen Red Crescent Society distributing food rations in the Sa'ada governorate in Yemen. Insecurity continues to plague the country, where several aid workers have been kidnapped in recent months. Photo by: © ICRC/s.n.

After almost three months in captivity, a French aid worker kidnapped in Yemen will soon be rejoining his family.

Benjamin Malbrancke was released Friday (July 13), Eric Marclay, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ operations in Yemen said in a press release. He was taken by armed men in the town of Hudayda in April.

Malbrancke’s return ended “long, hard days” of anxiety, Marclay said, adding that the organization is “relieved” and “extremely happy” to have him back in good health.

French President François Hollande shared the same sentiment. He said the Red Cross is doing “essential work” in Yemen and thanked everyone who helped in the aid worker’s release. He condemned those who target humanitarian workers, saying they put populations in need of aid in peril, according to a statement quoted by The Associated Press.

It remains unclear who was behind Malbrancke’s abduction. But his case is nothing new among aid workers in Yemen, where insecurity continues to be a major concern. In February, U.N. staff members were abducted in the country’s capital and then released two days after. One of Malbrancke’s colleagues, meanwhile, was killed in an airstrike in the province of Abyan in June, according to news reports.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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