News release

Yemen: Abducted ICRC staff member released

Geneva (ICRC) – Nourane Houas, an ICRC staff member who was abducted late last year in Sanaa, has been released and is currently in Muscat.

The ICRC would like to thank all those who have played a role in facilitating Ms Houas' release, in particular his majesty Sultan Qaboos, the Sultan of Oman.

Ms Houas was abducted by gunmen on 1 December 2015 while on her way to work. She was travelling with a colleague when a group of armed men intercepted their car. Her colleague was released unharmed a few hours later while she was held for over ten months.

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

"It has taken a lot of effort, inside and outside Yemen and over many months, but finally we have a positive result, said Mr Faite. "Our priority now is Nourane's well-being and getting her home to her family. We would ask everyone to respect her and her family's privacy at this time."

The ICRC will not comment on the identity of the abductors, their motives or the details of her release.

"We are also grateful for the support and cooperation of the French and Tunisian governments throughout this time," said Mr Faite. "We remain committed to helping the people of Yemen, who are suffering terribly from the ongoing conflict. We hope that in due course our operations in the country can fully resume."

For further information, please contact:
Rima Kamal, ICRC Sana'a, tel: +967 1 213844 or + 967 73 607 1967
Ralph El Hage, ICRC Amman, tel: +962 778 454 382
Faten M'Tir, ICRC Tunisia, tel: +216 25 336 200
Anna Nelson, ICRC Washington DC, tel: +1 202 361 1566
Frederic Joli, ICRC Paris, tel: +33 620 49 46 30
Ewan Watson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 3345 or +41 79 244 64 70