France Thanks Saudi Arabia, Oman for Helping Release Frenchman Held by Houthis
Saudi Arabia succeeded in releasing a Frenchman held captive by Houthis in Yemen for over four months after his boat ran into trouble near the port of Hodeida.
Alain Goma, 54, dropped anchor in Hodeida on June 3 after running out of water while sailing to India. He was then detained in a Houthi-controlled prison in Sanaa.
On Tuesday, a Saudi official announced that the operation to release Goma was done in compliance with the orders, following the request of the French government to “assist in the release of a French citizen being held in Yemen by Houthi militias.”
He explained that the release was done in coordination with the joint forces to facilitate the procedures of obtaining a permit for the C130 plane of the French Army. He also indicated that the plane was authorized to fly on Tuesday and transported the Frenchman to Oman.
Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement regarding the release of Goma indicating that Goma "was transported to the Sultanate on Tuesday evening in preparation for his return home."
In a statement, President Emmanuel Macron thanked authorities in Oman and Saudi Arabia for their help and “decisive” role in releasing Goma.
Goma was flown to neighboring Oman, his sister Christine Goma told AFP without being able to say when he would return to France.
"The important thing is that we know he is safe," she said.
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.”