The 3 workers from the French NGO, Humanitarian Generation Triangle, have been kept for 5 months in Yemen and were released this morning. Before being kidnapped they were restoring infrastructures after the 2008 wrenching floods.
They were two women and one man, between 25 and 30-years-old, with an engineering background, to have been sent in Yemen as program officers for the NGO. Exposed to waves of violence, mainly because of a government-contestation movement spreading and of the reinforcement of Al-Qaida in the South, the NGO suspended its activities right after its 3 workers disappeared on the 28th of May 2011.
In good health, the 3 humanitarian workers should be back in France by the end of the day. In its communiqué, the French Presidency noted that “the head of the state wants to thank warmly the Sultanate of Oman who played a great role in this matter, Oman’s authorities for their decisive help, as well as everybody who contributed to this happy ending”.
Operating on major crises theatres, humanitarian field workers intervene every day in hard conditions marked with instability. Even if the core of their job is solidarity, they are not spared by abductors. We did not forget about the 11 French hostages hold by Bosnian Serbians for a few years and freed in 1994, nor the Doctors of the World members, kidnapped in Darfur in 2009.
According to a report made by the Humanitarian Policy Group, in 2009, attacks targeting humanitarian workers don’t stop increasing since 2006. They concern above all international expatriates and UN officers. Concerning the very year 2008, 260 humanitarian actors were abducted, severely injured or targeted by violent assaults, or killed.
The Red Helmets Foundation is pleased and relieved by this happy ending, and wants to express its sincere thought for the remaining hostages: Denis Allex, officer in the General direction for external security, captive in Somalia since July 2009 ; Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dol and Marc Furrer detained since September 2010 in the Sahel desert.