Houthis abduct Yemeni teachers as peace talks continue

Houthis abduct Yemeni teachers as peace talks continue
As warring factions negotiate a potential peace deal in Kuwait, local sources claim Houthi rebels have kidnapped at least 14, including teaching staff, aid workers and a journalist in Taiz.
2 min read
27 April, 2016
Fierce fighting took place in Taiz between Yemeni forces and Houthis [File Photo: Anadolu Agency]
A group of Yemenis were kidnapped by armed Houthi forces in Taiz on Wednesday, as the rebel delegation sat with government officials in Kuwait as part of the country's UN-brokered peace talks.

Among the 14 known victims was the headteacher of al-Wahda School, four teachers and two students who were taken from Sirrar, east of Taiz - Yemen's third-largest city.

A manager of another local school, al-Huriya was also abducted earlier on Wednesday morning, along with a maths teacher, witnesses confirmed to The New Arab.

Four activists who were distributing humanitarian aid in the besieged city were also abducted.

Sami Noman, a Taiz-based journalist who writes on the security situation in the capital Sanaa, was kidnapped by the rebels, writer Ma'n Dammaj told The New Arab.

The whereabouts of the abductees has not yet been disclosed and no motive has been outlined by the Houthis.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Houthis, including allies of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, began the seventh day of UN-brokered negotiations in Kuwait where officials are attempting to resolve a conflict that has left more than 6,400 people dead.

On Tuesday - six days after the delayed peace talks began - the UN special envoy to Yemen said that warring parties had agreed to a framework for talks that will open the way for extensive negotiations to end the conflict.

The announcement came after Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, whose country is hosting the talks, met with the two delegations separately and urged them to reach a peaceful solution.

The two delegations "agreed to an agenda for negotiations which is a framework for discussing security, economic and political issues", UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told a press conference.

He said "comprehensive negotiations" would start on Wednesday in line with UN Security Council resolution 2216, which is seen as a basis for any peace plan.

It states that the rebels must withdraw from seized territories and disarm before talks can progress.

But Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the UN wants all the main issues to be discussed in parallel by joint committees.

He said no timeframe had yet been set for the talks, which should continue as necessary to achieve a "comprehensive peaceful settlement."

"We don't want to go back to Yemen without a peaceful settlement," Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.