American authorities confirmed on Monday, February 25 that an American citizen, abducted in Sana'a and held as a hostage by Houthi rebels since September 2017, has been released. According to local reports, the hostage was flown to Oman to be recovered by US authorities. Details regarding the circumstances of the release as well as the kidnappers' identities remain unclear.
Yemen has witnessed numerous kidnappings of foreigners in recent decades. Tribes often use kidnappings to gain money or government favors. Terrorist groups such as Al-Qa'ida, who have strong presences in the south and southeast of the country, have also been known to carry out abductions.
Yemen is engaged in a complex and deadly conflict, ongoing since Houthi rebels entered into a civil war with the Yemeni government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, in 2015. Approximately 10,000 Yemenis have died in the fighting and over 2.5 million are displaced. The devastating war has also sparked a cholera outbreak, which as affected approximately 500,000 people to date.
The security environment in Yemen remains complex. Due to poor security conditions, many Western governments strongly advise their citizens against all travel to Yemen. Travel to the country should only be considered with proper security protocols in place. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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