UN staff, other aid workers kidnapped in Yemen

Published June 8, 2024
Plumes of smoke rise from the site of an air strike in Sanaa, on Friday.—Reuters
Plumes of smoke rise from the site of an air strike in Sanaa, on Friday.—Reuters

DUBAI: Yemen’s Houthi rebels have detained an unspecified number of aid workers, including United Nations staff, in an apparently coordinated sweep, a diplomatic source and a Yemeni NGO said on Friday.

Eighteen aid workers were kidnapped in four Houthi-held parts of the country, the Yemeni Mayyun Organisation for Human Rights said, listing 10 workers from UN agencies. A diplomatic source said “more than a dozen” aid workers, including UN staff, were kidnapped on Thursday.

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.

“The Houthi armed group raided the homes and kidnapped staff of the United Nations and other international organisations operating in four governorates under” their control, the Mayyun Organisation said.

This “serious escalation […] constitutes a violation of the privileges and immunities of United Nations personnel”, it added, describing the abductions as “blackmail practices in order to obtain political and economic gains”.

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

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2024

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