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Houthis detain Yemeni staff for UN, US organisations

June 7, 2024 at 8:52 pm

Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric in New York, US on November 2023 [Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Houthi security forces have detained 11 United Nations personnel in Yemen over the past three days and the UN is seeking their safe and unconditional release as soon as possible, UN spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said on Friday, Reuters reports.

He said the UN was very concerned about the developments and was seeking clarification from the Houthis about why the Yemeni staff was detained. The two women and nine men work for five different UN agencies and the UN envoy for Yemen.

“We’re pursuing all available channels to secure the safe and unconditional release of all of them as rapidly as possible,” said Dujarric, adding that the UN also wanted access to the staff.

In a series of raids, armed Houthi intelligence officers detained at least nine UN employees, three employees of the US-funded pro-democracy group, National Democratic Institute (NDI) and three employees of a local human rights group, three officials of Yemen’s internationally recognised government told Reuters on Friday.

Intelligence officers of the Houthi group, which controls the capital, Sana’a, and large parts of the north of the country, raided the homes and offices of these people, confiscating phones and computers.

The internationally recognised government controls mostly southern parts of Yemen.

The NDI did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for confirmation or comment. A Houthi spokesperson did not immediately comment.

The Houthis, who are aligned to Iran, have attacked shipping in the Red Sea, drawing airstrikes from the United States and Britain. They have held around 20 Yemeni employees of the US embassy in Sana’a for the past three years. The embassy suspended operations in 2014.

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