7 Indians among 14 detainees freed from Houthi captivity

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Seven Indians were detained from a Houthi rebel-seized cargo vessel in February this year….reports Asian Lite News

Following the intervention of the country’s king, Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, the Omani government has helped secure the release of seven Indian nationals who were detained in Yemen.

A total of 14 foreign nationals including seven from India, three from the UK and one each from Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar and Ethiopia had been detained and kept in Yemen without trial, media reports said.

Seven Indians were detained from a Houthi rebel-seized cargo vessel in February this year.

“The Sultanate of Oman has coordinated with the concerned authorities in Sana’a, which responded with gratitude to these endeavours, and after communicating with the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to facilitate the issuance of the necessary permits,” Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

14 nationals were transferred from Sanaa to Muscat “on a plane belonging to the Royal Air Force of Oman, in preparation for their return to their countries,” the statement further said.

 Seven Indian sailors, in captivity of Yemen’s Houthi rebels since January 2 along with their UAE-flagged merchant ship Rwabee, have been released, relatives of some of the sailors said on Sunday.

The sailors included three Keralites – Dipash of Meppayur in Kozhikode, Akhil of Alappuzha, and Sreejith from Kottayam – and their relatives said that they have got information about their release.

The Houthi rebels had then claimed that the UAE-flagged vessel Rwabee was carrying “military supplies” and that it had entered the Yemeni waters of the coast of Hodeidah without any authorisation.

The External Affairs Ministry was in touch with the UN mission to felicitate the release of the Indian sailors.

The Omani delegation was in Sanaa since Friday to convince the Houthi militia to engage in a peace process with the government of the war-torn nation.

Yemen’s warring sides agreed to implement from April 2 a UN-brokered ceasefire that was meant to last two months, reports Xinhua news agency.

The truce includes the halt of all ground, aerial and naval military offensive operations across Yemen and its borders.

Oman, which borders both Yemen and Saudi Arabia, has been actively engaged in brokering the ceasefire.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg also hailed Oman’s “crucial role in supporting the negotiations”.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed government out of Sanaa.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 4 million, and pushed the country to the brink of starvation, according to the UN.

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