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US calls on Yemen’s Houthis to release embassy and U.N. personnel

A U.S. official stated on Thursday that the Houthi movement in Yemen continues to hold 12 current and former workers for the United States and the United Nations and urged the organisation to free them as ‘a demonstration of good faith.’


In November, the US revealed that the Houthis had kidnapped a number of Yemeni employees at the US Embassy in the nation’s capital, Sanaa, without specifying how many. According to UNESCO and U.N. Human Rights, two staff members are being detained.


‘We protest the incarceration of 12 of our present and former U.S. and U.N. employees by the Houthis. They continue to be detained incommunicado,’ Tim Lenderking, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, told reporters.


‘This detention sends a really bad message. We expect the Houthis to release these people without conditions as a sign of good faith.’


He did not say how many of the 12 were employees of the embassy.


After the Houthis drove out Yemen’s internationally recognised government from the capital in late 2014, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened months later, closing the U.S. mission in Sanaa.


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