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Three French aid staff missing in Yemen

Three French aid workers were kidnapped in Yemen's southern province of Hadramout on Saturday, a local security official said.
/ Source: Reuters

Three French aid workers disappeared in Yemen's southern province of Hadramout on Saturday and a local security official said they were believed to have been kidnapped.

The French Foreign Ministry said the three were missing in the Arabian Peninsula country, in the grip of civil unrest for months, but it was unclear whether they had been abducted.

"We confirm that we are aware of the disappearance of some French citizens in Yemen. We are talking about three people. We are not yet in a position to say whether they have been kidnapped," the ministry said in a statement issued in Paris.

The Yemeni official told Reuters security forces were combing the area for the two women and one man, who were believed to have been seized after leaving a restaurant.

Kidnappings of Western tourists or workers by tribes seeking ransom or concessions from the government have been frequent in Yemen, one of the poorest Arab countries. Most of the hostages have been freed unharmed.

The official said the three worked for an organisation called Triangle, apparently a reference to Triangle Generation Humanitaire which has operations in Yemen including aiding Somali refugees and helping provide clean water in the southern port of Aden, according to its website.

The group could not be immediately reached for comment.