Three staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross have been kidnapped in Yemen, once again raising serious questions about the safety of aid workers in the fragile country.
The three – reportedly Swiss and Kenyan nationals as well as a local Yemeni interpreter – were abducted Monday (May 13) in the city of Jaar in the southern province of Abyan. This is the same area where two Indian Red Cross workers were briefly held last week by armed individuals believed to be from the Marakisha tribe.
It remains unclear who is behind the latest kidnapping.
The three are alive, according to ICRC spokesperson Dibeh Fakhr, who said the organization is negotiating for the workers’ safe release.
Standard Red Cross practice meant, however, that she declined to provide further information on the circumstances leading up to the abductions, in fear of jeopardizing ongoing negotiations.
Kidnappings, particularly of foreigners, is a major concern in Yemen. And aid workers are not spared from this worrying trend in the country.
Indeed, in March, one of its employees was shot while driving in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. The aid worker survived the incident, but Red Cross sources believe the act was a failed kidnap attempt.
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