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Tue 4 Oct 2016 10:29 AM

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Kidnapped Red Cross worker freed in Yemen and taken to Oman

French-Tunisian, Nourane Houas by unidentified gunmen in the Yemeni capital Sanaa

Kidnapped Red Cross worker freed in Yemen and taken to Oman
An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) vehicle drives past Yemeni fighters loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. (Saleh Al-Obeidi/AFP/Getty Images)

A Red Cross worker kidnapped 10 months ago in Yemen was freed on Monday and taken to neighbouring Oman, Omani state news agency ONA and the ICRC said.

French-Tunisian, Nourane Houas, a staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Sanaa, had been kidnapped along with a Yemeni man by unidentified gunmen who intercepted their vehicle in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

The man was released hours later but Houas held in an unknown location.

ONA quoted an Omani foreign ministry official as saying France had asked Oman to try to locate her.

"The concerned authorities in the sultanate, and in coordination with some Yemeni parties, managed to find the aforementioned woman in Yemen and transferred her to the sultanate this evening, in preparation to repatriate her home," ONA said.

The agency gave no further details.

The ICRC confirmed Houas had reached Oman after being freed with Omani help.

"We are relieved and thankful that Nourane is now back with us, safe and sound," Alexandre Faite, ICRC head of delegation in Yemen, said in a statement.

"Her abduction was a terrible ordeal for her, as well as for her family, friends and colleagues. And it has obviously dealt a real blow to our humanitarian work in Yemen."

The Gulf Arab sultanate has several times used its good ties with Yemen's dominant Houthi group to free Western nationals who have gone missing or been detained in Yemen.

Sanaa is controlled by the Houthi militia, an Iran-allied group which seized control of much of Yemen from September last year.

The capture of Sanaa provoked armed intervention in March by a Saudi-led Arab alliance, which has since been waging an air campaign against the Houthis and allied troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Two ICRC employees were shot dead by unknown gunmen in September last year in the northern province of Amran. The two Yemeni nationals had been returning from an aid project in the northern province of Saada.

On Aug. 25, gunmen raided the ICRC office in the Yemeni port city of Aden, which is controlled by the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, forcing the agency to temporarily suspend its activities there.