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The Houthis have detained 11 employees of the UN agency in Yemen

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Over the past three days, Houthi rebels have detained 11 United Nations employees in Yemen. The UN demands their safe and unconditional release as soon as possible, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

11 agency employees UN were detained by Houthi rebels In Yemen in unclear circumstances, local sources reported on Friday. Employees of other humanitarian organizations were probably also detained, the AP reported.

The detentions come at a time when Houthi separatists have been shelling merchant ships in the Red Sea for months, gaining increasing notoriety on the international arena. At the same time, they suppress resistance in the country. Recently, 44 people were sentenced to death there.

Citing UN employees, AP reported that those detained included employees of agencies dealing with it human rights, development and food aid. The wife of one of them was also detained. The Mayyun Human Rights Organization reported that the arrests took place in four Houthi-held provinces in Yemen.

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The Houthis have detained UN agency staff in YemenYAHYA ARHAB/PAP/EPA

“We strongly condemn this dangerous escalation, which constitutes a violation of the rights and immunities of United Nations employees granted to them under international law. We consider it an oppressive and totalitarian practice of blackmail for political and economic gain,” reads the UN statement quoted by AP. .

The US is increasing economic pressure on the Houthis

It is not clear what led to the detention of international organizations' employees, but, AP stressed, it occurred at a time when the Houthis lack currency to support the economy. As Bloomberg recently reported, USA plans to further increase economic pressure on the Houthis by blocking their sources of income.

– Internal tensions and conflicts could spiral out of control and lead Yemen to complete economic collapse, warned Yemeni journalist Mohammed Ali Thamer in an analysis published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The civil war between the Shiite Houthi militias and the legal Sunni government has resulted in the deaths of more than 150,000 people. people and caused one of the world's most dramatic humanitarian disasters.

In Yemen, about 65 percent communities are Sunni Muslims, and approximately 35 percent they are Shiites. The Houthis belong to the Zaydites – a faction of Shiites that ruled in northern Yemen for a thousand years.

Main photo source: YAHYA ARHAB/PAP/EPA

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