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French ICRC official kidnapped in Yemen

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:24 AM EDT, Sun April 22, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The French national was kidnapped along with two Yemeni drivers
  • The drivers were released, unharmed
  • "Until now we have no contact with the kidnappers or our employee," says an ICRC spokeswoman

(CNN) -- A French official of the International Committee of the Red Cross was kidnapped Saturday in western Yemen, an ICRC spokeswoman said.

The ICRC official, whose identity was not disclosed, was taken about 30 kilometers (19 miles) outside of Hudaida, a coastal city on the Red Sea, said Dibeh Fakhr. He was traveling with two Yemeni drivers, who were also taken but then released, she said. They were unharmed.

"Until now, we have no contact with the kidnappers or our employee," Fakhr told CNN.

The spokeswoman declined to identify the official because of concerns for his safety. For the same reason, she said she would not comment on the possible identity of the kidnappers.

Kidnappings are common in Yemen, which has been beset by political turbulence since the beginning of last year. Protests led to the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office, and the government has battled Islamic militants.

Last month, Saudi Arabia's deputy consul was kidnapped in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, two security officials there told CNN.

CNN's Kamal Ghattas contributed to this report.

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