Red Cross Says Staff Abducted in Yemen

Three Red Cross employees were abducted while travelling in the governorate of Lahj in southern Yemen, an official of the aid group has confirmed.

The kidnapped aid workers include a female staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross, her Yemeni driver and an employee of the Yemeni Red Crescent. French foreign ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero said the ICRC employee is a French national.

The three were on their way to deliver food to refugees when they were seized on Tuesday (Nov. 22), according to Marcal Izard, a Geneva-based ICRS spokesperson. He added that ICRC is in touch with local authorities and elders “to resolve the issue quickly,” The Associated Press reports.

A Yemeni security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the country’s military is negotiating the release of the aid workers with the Southern Movement, a group seeking independence for southern Yemen, AP adds.

The security situation in the Middle Eastern country has been rapidly deteriorating since the breakout of an uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 30-year reign. AP notes that the situation is particularly complicated in the southern part of the country, where al Qaida-affiliated militants are an added concern.

Just this May, three French aid workers were also kidnapped in the country. The three were released on Nov. 14.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.