France’s last hostage abroad, Isabelle Prime, returned home Friday evening after spending more than five months in captivity. Prime was freed by Yemeni captors on Thursday, notably through the mediation of the Sultan of Oman.
On Friday she touched down at Villacoublay air base where she was greeted by her loved ones, French President Francois Hollande, and Foreign minister Laurent Fabius.
Sporting grey tracksuit bottoms, white jacket, cap and sunglasses, a tired yet happy Prime spoke with the President before being reunited with her family.
Five months ago, she was kidnapped, along with her translator, as they made their way to the Yemeni capital Sanaa on 24 February. Her translator was released in March.
Prime, a consultant, had been in Yemen working on a World Bank-funded project.
Speaking to RFI, she spoke of the difficulty of her work: “I want to highlight that we were working on a social programme at this period in Yemen, and that we were determined to see it through to the end, because as a French woman I’ve always grown up believing Human rights were a given.”
In June, a video showing the ex-hostage in distress went viral, and was later confirmed by French authorities to be authentic.
Her release on Thursday came about through the mediation of Oman, which France thanked for its role in negotiating her freedom.
“I called the Sultan of Oman to express my gratitude,” Hollande said in a press release Friday.
Oman, which borders Yemen, has helped to facilitate the release of other captives, including American journalist Casey Coombs, who was freed by Shia Houthi rebels earlier this year.
France has denied claims that a ransom was paid for Prime’s release and no other details of her release have been given.
The identity of her kidnappers has still not been confirmed.
[Source – RFI]