Red Cross 'relief' as hostage workers freed

24th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The International Committee of the Red Cross expressed its relief on Thursday after the release of three workers kidnapped in Yemen.

"Two International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff members and a Yemen Red Crescent Society volunteer who had been briefly held by armed individuals in a village in Lahj governorate, southern Yemen, returned to Aden today," the group said in a statement.

"This is a moment of relief for us and for the Yemen Red Crescent Society," said Eric Marclay, who heads the ICRC delegation in Yemen, while thanking those who assisted with the release.

The ICRC said the three had left Aden on Tuesday to distribute food and household goods to displaced people in Lahj, but were prevented from returning to their office.

The body had requested the help of local authorities and other leaders in the area to ensure the return of the three humanitarian workers, it said.

Municipal official Hasan Ali told AFP the group included a French aid worker and a Yemeni translator and driver.

A source close to the kidnappers said they seized the three hostages as bargaining chips to press for the release of Southern Movement activists arrested a day earlier in the port city of Aden, the south's former capital.

The Southern Movement campaigns for greater autonomy for the formerly independent south, with its radical wing demanding renewed secession.

© 2011 AFP

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