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Yemen kidnappers post French hostage video online

Captors of a French consultant in Yemen, Isabelle Prime, have posted her video online. Prime was abducted in February by kidnappers whose identity remains unknown.

The footage was published online on Monday. In the video, the French captive calls on both French and Yemeni leaders to help secure her release as soon as possible.

Prime was working in Yemen as a consultant with a World Bank project when she was kidnapped by unidentified men on February 24. The men also abducted Prime's translator, Sherine Makkaoui, who was released on March 10 near the southern city of Aden.

In the video, Prime appeared to be under extreme stress. Pictures showed her sitting in a desert-like area wearing a black robe. She addressed French President Francois Hollande and Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, asking them to take her back to France.

She said she was "very, very tired" and had "tried to kill" herself several times.

France 'mobilized to obtain release'

The French Foreign ministry verified the authenticity of the video and said it was filmed in April. Ministry spokesman Alexandre Giorgini said authorities were "mobilized to secure the release of our compatriot…with discretion and determination."

There was still no information as to the people who abducted Prime, but there were suspicions that the 30-year-old may have been taken hostage by tribesmen, who use foreign citizens as bargaining chips in negotiations with their government.

The consultant could have also fallen prey to the terrorist group al Qaeda. In December 2014, US citizens Luke Somers and South African teacher Pierre Korkie died in an attempt by US forces to rescue them from a terror hideout.

Yemen descended into an armed conflict earlier this year after Shiite Houthi rebels wrested control of the capital Sanaa from President Hadi, who then fled to Saudi Arabia.

A military coalition led by Riyadh has conducted airstrikes on Houthi targets since late March, but rebel forces have not backed down.

Yemen is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis, the United Nations has said, with more than 1,000 civilians dead and several thousands having to go without food.

mg/kms (AFP, AP)

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