Yemen Minister: Houthi militia raid WFP warehouse, kidnap 2 UN staff members

Yemenis distribute sacks of food aid to be given to displaced people who fled battles in the Red Sea province of Hodeida and are now living in camps in the northern district of Abs, under control by the Iranian-backed Houthi in Hajjah province, on June 24, 2018. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 29 June 2018

Yemen Minister: Houthi militia raid WFP warehouse, kidnap 2 UN staff members

DUBAI: Yemen’s Local Administration Minister and Higher Relief Council Director, Abdul Raqib Fatah condemned the storming of the World Food Program (WFP) warehouse in Hodeidah and the kidnapping of two UN staff members by Houthi militias.

The WFP is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and over the past three years in the war-torn country, the humanitarian organization has assisted over seven million people in need.

In a press statement to Saba news agency, Fatah denounced the Houthi’s continued aggression towards international humanitarian organizations working on the field in Yemen.

Fatah called the attack a war crime and a violation of international and humanitarian law.

He called on the international community and aid groups to condemn this “terrorist act” and take all necessary measures to deter the militants from meddling in relief efforts.

“The targeting of relief organizations in the province of Hodeidah by the militias and their control of the port to hijack and detain relief vessels increases the suffering of the Yemeni people as a whole,” Fatah said.

Arab News contacted WFP for a comment, however no official statements have been given.


Yemen prisoner exchange talks open in Switzerland

United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths. (AP)
Updated 50 min 13 sec ago

Yemen prisoner exchange talks open in Switzerland

  • The Yemen conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and sparked what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis

GENEVA: Rival parties in Yemen’s war opened UN-sponsored talks on Friday aimed at an exchange deal for the release of more than 1,400 prisoners, the UN said.
The internationally recognized government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels agreed to exchange some 15,000 detainees as part of peace deal brokered by the UN in Sweden in 2018.
The two sides have since made sporadic prisoner swaps, but the release of 900 loyalists in exchange for 520 insurgents — if it materializes — would mark the first large-scale handover since the war erupted in 2014.
“The #Yemen Prisoners & Detainees Committee meeting started today. I am grateful to #Switzerland for hosting it & to @ICRC for co-chairing,” UN envoy Martin Griffiths tweeted, without giving an exact location for the talks.

FASTFACT

The two sides have since made sporadic prisoner swaps, but the release of 900 loyalists in exchange for 520 insurgents — if it materializes — would mark the first large-scale handover since the war erupted in 2014.

“My message to the Parties is: conclude discussions, release detainees swiftly, bring relief to thousands of Yemeni families,” he wrote.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for its part, said it was ready to help with the return of detainees to their families.
A source close to Yemen’s presidency said on Wednesday that the talks in Switzerland would “lay out the final touches” after agreement was reached with the ICRC “on all logistical arrangements.”
Gen. Nasser Mansour Hadi, brother of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, along with several politicians and journalists, would be among those released, he said.
A former senior intelligence official, the general has been held by the rebels ever since they overran Sanaa in late 2014.
The Yemen conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and sparked what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.