Relaymedia

Tunisian Female Red Cross Worker Kidnapped by Militiamen In Yemen; No Clues Yet on Abductors and Their Motive

( [email protected] ) May 09, 2016 12:20 PM EDT
A band of armed men abducted a Tunisian national who works for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen.
Red Cross worker Nouran Hawas was abducted by armed militia in capital Sanaa. She appealed for help for her safe release in a video.

A band of armed men abducted a Tunisian national who works for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen.

Nouran Hawas, who is in charge of the humanitarian protection program, was on her way to work in capital Sanaa when gunmen intercepted her ICRC vehicle Tuesday morning. Only her male companion was released after some hours.

Rima Kamal, the ICRC's Yemen spokesperson, said at this point they don't have clues about the abductors and their motive.

"We appeal to those responsible to release our colleagues," she said. Sanaa is controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi militia which seized control of much of wartorn Yemen.

The kidnapping was not the first hostile experience for the Red Cross. Last September, two of their colleagues were shot dead in the northern province of Amran.  The agency was forced to suspend operation also in Aden when gunmen raided their office last August.

Except for the 39-second video shared on Yemeni news sites on Friday where Hawas pleaded for help from the Red Cross and her country's government for her safe release. Hawas was wearing a black veil on the video, and no demand of her abductors was included.

"We certainly have some information, but we can't share or elaborate on these publicly due to the sensitivity of any abduction case. What matters now is Nourane's safe return to her family as soon as possible," Kamal said.

Conflict in Yemen entered in its ninth month, and the capture of Sanaa by the Houthis prompted an armed intervention by the Saudi-led Arab alliance.in support of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime.

A UN report said the conflict in Yemen has resulted in over 32,000 casualties including 830 women and children.