Yemen’s Houthi forces have detained a US citizen in the capital Sana’a for reasons that were not immediately clear, two colleagues of the man said today.
Nadia Burch told Reuters that her husband, Danny Lavon Burch, was seized on Saturday after taking his children to school. He had been working in Yemen since the late 1980s, currently with the oil company Safer, said Burch.
“He has no problems or disputes with anyone, which is why he didn’t leave as others did,” Yemeni Nadia said. “I ask for the release of my husband and his safe return to me.”
The US Embassy to Yemen said it was unable to confirm the report. The Houthi movement did not respond to a request for comment and the Safer oil company was also not immediately available for comment.
Two of Burch’s colleagues in Sana’a said Houthi forces were responsible, without elaborating further. But Nadia said the kidnappers had not contacted her and she was unsure of their identity.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s civil war.
The conflict pits the Iran-allied Houthis and supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is supported by an alliance of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi-led coalition began a military campaign in Yemen in March 2015 with the aim of preventing Houthi rebels and Saleh supporters from taking control of the country.
The Houthis and Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC), hold most of Yemen’s northern half, while forces loyal to Hadi share control of the rest of the country with local tribes.