Yemeni Houthi jihadists have reportedly taken a number of Americans hostage in Yemen as they fight to take control of the country, the U.S. State Department confirmed Monday. One of the American captives has been identified.
Scott Darden, 45, is one of the captives, a source with knowledge of the ongoing hostage situation told CNN. He was captured by the Iran-backed Houthi militants in March, and they have yet to ask for a ransom, the source said.
The Houthi militants are notoriously anti-American, proven by their slogan: “God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.”
Darden, an Atlanta, Georgia native, was captured while working on humanitarian aid projects in the country.
“We are aware of reports that several U.S. citizens are detained in Yemen. Due to privacy considerations, we do not have any further personal details or information to share. The protection of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the Department of State’s highest priorities. We strive to assist U.S. citizens detained abroad whenever possible,” the U.S. State Department said of the hostage crisis.
Darden’s employer, Transoceanic Development, released a statement on Monday, writing:
We have been working tirelessly since March with governments and other organizations globally to secure the release of Scott Darden, who was in Yemen coordinating the warehousing and delivery of humanitarian aid as part of his job in international logistics. We continue to call on the Houthis to immediately release Scott so that he can be reunited with his family.
Before American officials publicly confirmed that Mr. Darden had been taken hostage, Darden’s wife, Diana Loesch, told the Washington Post: “We are asking for his safe return… He loved the Yemeni people.”
In mid February, the United States abandoned its embassy in Yemen. Shortly thereafter, the embassy was ransacked by the Houthis, who took possession of several vehicles and weapons, according to reports.