Houthi rebels re-arrest US embassy staff in Yemen

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have detained another official at the US Embassy there, which has long been closed. In total, at least 11 former local staff are detained by the Houthis, according to reports by Yemeni officials and others.

The Iran-backed Houthis, who control the capital, Sanaa, and much of northern Yemen, detained a former US embassy press officer last week, according to a rights lawyer in Sanaa, Abdel-Majeed Sabra, and family members of a detainee who asked not to be identified. his name for fear of retribution.

Sabra said the former press officer was being held at a Houthi-run Security and Intelligence Authority facility. It was not yet clear whether the Houthis had charged the man or other detainees of Embassy staff, he said. He added that the last staff member was detained a month after the rebels arrested his former deputy at the embassy.

On Tuesday (22/2), the Houthi rebels took the last detained embassy staff home for a search, and took them away again.

The State Department said in an email to the Associated Press news agency this week that the US government was “relentless” in its efforts to free local embassy staff.

Following the conflict in 2015, America closed its embassy in Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country.[ka/lt]