The State Department has announced that an American veteran detained in Yemen for over a year has been released over the weekend following extensive diplomatic negotiations.
37-year-old Marine, Air Force Reserves and Army veteran Wallead Yusuf Pitts Luqman was kidnapped by the Houthi rebel faction in April of 2015, following his two-year tenure as an English teacher in the region.
The Houthis are a Zaidi Shia-led political religious group that originate from northern Yemen and have played a major role as a powerhouse faction in the fractured country.
According to a release from the State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry was involved in the release of Luqman and has been in touch with his family.
In addition to thanking the government of Oman for their assistance, Kerry also recognized what he called a “positive gesture by the Houthis.”
While The New York Times claims that a senior American official said the Houthis had cleared Luqman of all wrongdoing in August (before even officially acknowledging that they were holding him captive), he was thereafter flown to Oman after negotiations.
Luqman’s wife -Jihan Mohamed- went public last month in regards to her husband’s capture in an attempt to free him. She said that Houthi political security operatives were Luqman against his will.
“They had no reason to take him, and there are no charges,” she said on social media. “After months of not knowing his condition or where he was, I finally received proof of life this year.”
Since the collapse of the American-backed Yemeni government last year, the Houthis have taken control of large tracts of Yemen, detaining several Americans in the process.
The nation of Oman has been a tremendous asset in the live release of four American captives who were held by the Houthis. One detainee, however, was not so lucky- when his body was released by the Houthis into Omani custody, it was revealed via autopsy that he had been tortured.
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