France - Yemen

France trying to contact French woman’s Yemeni kidnappers

Isabelle Prime's place of work in Sanaa.
Isabelle Prime's place of work in Sanaa. Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

The French government is trying to contact the kidnappers of Isabelle Prime, the French woman kidnapped in Yemen on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said Wednesday. He repeated a call to all French nationals to leave the country.


The government is doing all it can to establish contact with the kidnappers and with Prime herself, Fabius told Wednesday morning’s cabinet meeting.

Fabius called on all French nationals to leave Yemen.

“It’s an extremely dangerous country,” he told France Info radio before the cabinet meeting, pointing out that the government had issued an evacuation order two weeks ago but could not force its citizens to leave.

Prime, a 30-year-old consultant working on a World Bank-funded project run by American firm Ayala Consulting on behalf of the Social Welfare Fund of Yemen, was kidnapped while travelling in a taxi in the centre of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in broad daylight along with her interpreter, Sherine Makkaoui.

The taxi driver was later released blindfolded.

“There has been some contact” with the kidnappers, the company’s boss Francisco Ayala told the AFP news agency.

Makkaoui’s family has contacted tribal leaders in Sanaa and the provinces of Jawf and Marib and the Huthi militias that now control the capital, her uncle, Yassine Makkaoui, told AFP.

The absence of foreign diplomats and a functioning government since the departure of President Abedrabbo Mansour and Prime Minister Khalid Bahah faced with a Huthi offensive makes the task of saving the kidnapped women complicated.

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