Gunmen have abducted a French woman and her Yemeni driver in the centre of the capital, Sanaa, while she was heading to work, security sources and France's foreign ministry have said.

The unidentified gunmen intercepted the vehicle on 45th Street and led the 30-year-old woman, who works for a consulting firm on a project funded by the World Bank, and the driver to an unknown location, the security sources said.

"We unfortunately confirm the kidnapping this morning in Sanaa of a French citizen," read a statement from the French foreign ministry urging "all our compatriots to leave the country as fast as possible".

French President Francois Hollande said: "We are trying to locate her," and called for her release "as soon as possible".

Kidnappings are common in Yemen, a country of 25 million where disgruntled tribesmen have frequently seized foreigners to push the government to provide them with services or to free jailed relatives.

The country is also home to one of the most active branches of al-Qaeda which has also targeted foreigners.

Yemen is in turmoil since Houthi rebels seized control of the capital in September.

Source: Agencies