Oman Facilitates Release of 14 Foreigners Held in Yemen

Oman’s foreign ministry said Monday that they have facilitated the release of 14 foreigners, including a British national, and seven Indians who were held in Yemen and transferred them from the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa to Muscat.

“The people freed included a British man, his wife, and child, seven Indian nationals, a Filipino, an Indonesian, an Ethiopian and a Myanmar national,” the ministry said in a statement, without giving details of what had led to their detention.

“Delighted to confirm that Captain Carlos Demata, Mohammed Jashim Khan, Ayenachew Mekonen, Dipash Moota Parambil, Akhil Reghu, Surya Hidayat Pratama, Sreejith Sajeevan, Mohammed Munwar Sameer, Sandeep Singh, Luke Symons, and his wife and child, Maung Than, and Veera V S S G Vasamsetti have been released from custody in Yemen early today,” Oman’s Foreign Minister Badr Albusaidi said in a tweet.

Albusaidi said that the people who were freed are now in the care of Oman.

The Omani ministry said that after communicating with Saudi Arabia to facilitate the issuance of the necessary permits, all 14 were transferred on an Oman Royal Air Force plane to the Omani capital, in preparation for their return to their countries.

The UK government identified the Briton as Luke Symons, saying he had been held without charge or trial since 2017. “Luke was 25 when he was unlawfully detained by the Houthis. His son was only a few months old at the time,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.

“He was allegedly mistreated, in solitary confinement, and refused visits by his family,” Truss added.

Meanwhile, India thanked Oman and other parties concerned for the release of seven Indian sailors who were under detention by the Houthis in Yemen since January 2.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the Indians reached Muscat on Sunday and are expected to travel back to India shortly. 

The development was made after the warring sides in Yemen’s war agreed to a nationwide truce for the first time in six years under a United Nations-brokered deal.

The 60-day truce, which went into effect on April 2, came amid concerted international and regional efforts to find a settlement to the conflict in the war-hit country. 

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