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French citizen freed after being held by Yemeni Houthis

Alain Goma, French citizen who had been held captive in Yemen by Houthi forces [Twitter]

Alain Goma, a French citizen who had been held captive in Yemen by Houthi forces, was freed today, a statement from the French president’s office said.

In the statement, President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged the assistance of Saudi authorities and of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said in bringing about Goma’s release.

Goma had been in prison in the Yemen capital Sanaa, which is under Houthi control, after being transferred from the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, where his boat ran into difficulties in June.

READ: France seeks release of citizen held by Yemeni Houthis

Yemen has been in a state of war since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sana’a.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies – who accuse the Houthis of serving as Iran’s proxies – launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

The following year, UN-sponsored peace talks held in Kuwait failed to produce any tangible breakthroughs.

The violence has devastated the country’s basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.

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