November 11, 2021
At least 25 Yemenis working for the US in Sanaa have been detained in recent weeks by the Iran-backed Houthi militia who controls the capital, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Those rounded up include Yemenis working for the US embassy and USAID, the international development arm of the American government, according to the people, who declined to be named as they weren’t authorized to discuss the detentions.
The motivation for the arrests, which took place over the past three weeks, wasn’t clear but they come as the US and Saudi Arabia push for an end to the war in Yemen. The US embassy was shut in 2015 after the
Houthis took the capital, but some local staff continue to work from home or as security guards for the premises.
The US is extremely concerned by reports of detentions of some of its local Yemeni employees in Sanaa, said a spokesperson for the State Department.
The US calls on the Houthis to immediately release unharmed all employees and end any harassment of its staff, the spokesperson added.