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Tuesday July 23, 2024

Yemen’s Huthi rebels detain aid workers, including 11 UN staff

By AFP
June 08, 2024
Newly recruited fighters who joined a Houthi military force march during a parade in Sanaa, Yemen December 2, 2023. — Reuters
Newly recruited fighters who joined a Houthi military force march during a parade in Sanaa, Yemen December 2, 2023. — Reuters

DUBAI: Yemen´s Iran-backed Huthi rebels have detained more than a dozen aid workers, including 11 United Nations staff, in an apparently coordinated crackdown, the Yemeni government, aid groups and the UN said on Friday.

The abductions underline the perilous task facing aid workers in Yemen, whose long-running civil war has precipitated one of the world´s worst humanitarian crises.

“Huthi de facto authorities have detained 11 United Nations national personnel working in Yemen,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

“We´re pursuing all available channels to secure the safe and unconditional release of all of them as rapidly as possible.”

The Yemeni Mayyun Organisation for Human Rights said at least 18 Yemeni aid workers were kidnapped in four rebel-held parts of the war-torn country.

The “simultaneous” abductions took place in Sanaa, the key port of Hodeida, Amran and Saada, the rebels´ traditional stronghold, the aid group said.

Human Rights Watch said the Huthis “appear to be arbitrarily detaining the individuals based on their employment,” adding that the whereabouts of many remain unknown.

The abductees include the husband and children, ages three years and nine months, of a woman who works with a civil society organisation in Yemen, HRW said.

The Huthis have kidnapped, arbitrarily detained and tortured hundreds of civilians, including UN and NGO workers, since the start of Yemen´s conflict in 2014, according to rights groups.