Time: October 17, 2018
- France’s president has announced the release of the French citizen held in hostage in Yemen for more than 4 months
- French media reported Goma was on a sailing trip when damage on the ship forced him to dock in a Yemeni port
PARIS: A Frenchman held captive in war-torn Yemen for over four months after his boat ran into trouble near the port of Hodeidah has been released with the help of Saudi Arabia, the French presidency announced Tuesday.
Alain Goma dropped anchor in Hodeidah on June 3 after running out of water while sailing to India.
Hodeidah is under the control of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who took him prisoner.
It is not clear whether they made any demands of France in return for the release of Goma, who is in his fifties.
In a statement President Emmanuel Macron has congratulated all those who contributed to Alain Goma’s release. Goma will be back in France soon.
Macron said Tuesday that he’s grateful to Oman’s sultan and authorities for their “decisive” role and Saudi authorities for their help.
Yemeni security officials said the Houthis released Goma from a prison in the capital, Sanaa, which is also under rebel control.
They said the release came after “intensive” talks between France’s envoy to Yemen and Houthi leaders in Sanaa. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters.
Goma’s family members had last month made the situation of Goma public in French media so that he wouldn’t become a “forgotten hostage.”