Kidnapped ICRC workers released in Yemen

An International Committee of the Red Cross delegate in Israel. Three members of ICRC who were kidnapped in Yemen have been released. Photo by: Gilad Kavalerchik / ICRC / CC BY-SA

Three staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross were released after being kidnapped for three days in Yemen, the organization announced on Thursday.

“We are relieved and extremely happy to have our colleagues back with us,” Cedric Schweizer, head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen, said in a statement.

Although it remains unclear who is behind the kidnapping, the Geneva-based relief organization revealed their workers — two Swiss nationals and a Yemeni interpreter — “were stopped by armed men” Monday when they were traveling in an ICRC-marked vehicle on their way back to the delegation from a field trip.

Prior to the release of the hostages, an ICRC spokesperson told Devex that although the security situation in the country is volatile in several areas and humanitarian workers have been involved in a few incidents, “we have no reason or indication at this stage to believe that the ICRC was targeted.”

The spokesperson declined to discuss details about the organization’s security protocol in Yemen but stressed that transparency is a must, so they are always in touch with national and local authorities to ensure their presence in all areas is accepted.

Kidnappings, particularly of foreigners, are a major concern in Yemen, where two months ago an ICRC employee survived a shooting in what insiders believe was actually a failed attempt to abduct the expat worker.

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    Carlos Santamaria

    As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

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