CAIRO (Reuters) – New online footage shows a Franco-Tunisian woman who was kidnapped in Yemen in December appealing to her Red Cross employers and governments to help free her, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday.
The 39-second video, shared on Yemeni news sites on Friday, shows Nourane Hawas pleading in French for Yemen’s exiled president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and French President Francois Hollande to assist her.
Hawas, wearing a black veil, does not indicate her location or the identity and demands of her kidnappers.
The ICRC confirmed her identity and appealed for her to be freed. The ICRC posted a tweet asking people to not share the video.
“Since our colleague’s abduction, we mobilized all channels possible to secure her release,” Rima Kamal, the ICRC’s Yemen spokeswoman, told Reuters.
“Over the past five months, we have certainly had some leads. We are, however, unable to share or elaborate on these leads publicly due to the sensitivity of any abduction case. What matters now is Nourane’s safe return to her family as soon as possible,” she added. “We would like to request the media and public to refrain from sharing the video further, out of respect and consideration for Nourane’s family and loved ones.”
The French foreign ministry said in a statement that Hawas had dual nationality and that the country’s relevant services were working in support of the ICRC to secure her release. Unidentified gunmen kidnapped Hawas on Dec. 1 as she was leaving home for work in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, the ICRC said at the time. A Yemeni man who had been with her was later released.
Sanaa is controlled by the Houthi militia, an Iran-allied group which has seized control of much of war-torn Yemen.
Last September, two Yemeni ICRC employees were shot dead in the northern province of Amran by an unknown attacker. In August, gunmen raided the ICRC office in the port city of Aden, forcing the agency to temporarily suspend its activities there.
The capture of Sanaa by the Houthis provoked armed intervention by a Saudi-led Arab alliance, which has been waging an air strike campaign against the Houthis and allied soldiers loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.