UN staffer held in Yemen since 15 January 2012, calls home after being released unharmed. Photo: UNDP/Noeman Alsayyad
The United Nations confirmed today that a 34-year-old Norwegian staff member who had been held in Yemen for nearly two weeks has been released unharmed. The staffer was reportedly held somewhere in the governorate of Ma?rib, 173 kilometres east of the capital Sana?a, where he was taken by armed tribesmen involved in a tribal dispute on 15 January. ?I am happy to be free again and I wish to thank all those who have worked hard for my release,? commented the freed UN worker. ?I am relieved that this experience is over.? He is in good health and is receiving standard medical examinations and psychological counselling, according to a press release issued by his employer, the UN Development Programme (UNDP). ?We are delighted to have our colleague back with us, unharmed, and we greatly appreciate the timely and determined efforts of Yemeni authorities in negotiating his release,? said Jens-Toyberg-Frandzen, UN Resident Coordinator in Yemen. ?We are also grateful for the close coordination and support we have received from the Norwegian Government throughout this ordeal,? he added. The staff member, who has worked as a Governance Team Leader, will recuperate in his home country before resuming his duties with UNDP.