France seeks to authenticate Yemen hostage video

France seeks to authenticate Yemen hostage video

PARIS - Reuters
France seeks to authenticate Yemen hostage video

AFP Photo

The French Foreign Ministry is trying to authenticate a video purporting to show a Frenchwoman taken hostage in Yemen appealing to President Francois Hollande to seek her release, an official said on June 1. 

The existence of the video of Isabelle Prime, a consultant for Yemen's Social Fund for Development, was reported by French regional daily Ouest-France. It said the video showed Prime in the desert, dressed in back and making the appeal in English. 

Prime and her Yemeni translator Shereen Makawi were abducted by gunmen in the capital Sanaa in February while the pair were on their way to work. Yemeni tribal sources said in March Prime was to be released, but this has so far proven unfounded. 

In recent years tribesmen have taken foreigners hostage to press the government to provide them with services or to free jailed relatives. 

Yemen is also home to one of the most active branches of al Qaeda, to which tribal kidnappers have reportedly often sold their kidnapping victims. 

Since Prime's abduction the situation in the country has become more complex. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to exile in March after Iranian-allied Houthi fighters, who seized Sanaa in September, advanced towards Hadi's southern stronghold in Aden. 

A Saudi-led coalition is carrying out air strikes on Houthi positions in a bid to restore him to power. 

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed and over 8,000 wounded in the conflict since March 19, according to the United Nations.