Kidnapped French woman was due to leave Yemen soon: employer

24th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

A French development worker who was kidnapped in the Yemeni capital Sanaa had been due to leave the restive country in just a matter of days, her employer said Tuesday.

Isabelle Prime, 30, worked for Ayala Consulting on a project funded by the World Bank to advise the Yemeni government's social welfare program.

"Some (expatriate) staff had already left. Isabelle was the only one," said Francisco Ayala, president of the consulting firm based in Miami and Ecuador.

"She was about to leave in the next few days," he told AFP in a telephone interview.

Prime, a Yemeni colleague and their driver were riding down the main street in Sanaa en route to work when their car was stopped by men dressed as police officers, Ayala said.

"It seemed they moved around the city and eventually the driver was released after a few hours," he said.

"He was the one who gave us the alert and provided the information to the authorities."

The kidnappers wanted to free Prime's local female colleague as well, but it is understood she refused to leave Prime alone with her captors, Ayala said.

"There has been some contact" with the kidnappers, said Ayala, who had no details as the Yemeni interior ministry continues to deal with the case.

"As everyone else, we are just waiting," he said.

On her LinkedIn page, Prime describes herself a project manager with five years of international experience in Europe, the Middle East and America.

"Currently working on social projects in Yemen" as a "resident consultant" with Ayala Consulting since March 2013, she wrote.

On its website, Ayala Consulting said Prime, a graduate of France's elite Sciences Po university, previously worked on telecommunications and water sanitation projects in Jordan and France.


© 2015 AFP

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