Three French aid workers were reported missing in Yemen on Saturday after failing to return to their residence in Seyun and are feared to have been kidnapped, a security official said. A search for the three is underway.
AFP - Three French aid workers in Yemen, two of them women, were reported missing on Saturday in Hadramawt province in the country's southeast, a Yemeni security official and Paris told AFP.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the three were reported missing when they failed to return to their residence in Seyun for lunch, adding that "their mobile phones were suddenly switched off."
"Units of the security forces were immediately deployed to search for them," added the official, who said in response to a question that he could not rule out that they had been abducted.
"The most likely thing is that they have been kidnapped," he said.
The three have been working in Seyun since mid-April for Triangle Generation Humanitaire, a French NGO working in Yemen since 1998.
The foreign ministry in Paris confirmed that three French nationals had gone missing in Yemen on Saturday, and added that the French authorities were doing everything possible to find them.
"We received this information from our embassy in Sanaa about the disappearance of three of our nationals in Yemen," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
He said the French authorities were "in close contact with the Yemeni authorities, including the security forces" to locate the missing people.
Foreigners have frequently been kidnapped in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state by tribes who use the tactic to pressure the authorities into making concessions.
More than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past 15 years, and most have later been freed unharmed.
Date created : 2011-05-28