On Sunday, a freelance correspondent working for Sputnik in Yemen went missing and has not made any contact within 24 hours after Houthi rebels took over a TV station’s headquarters in Sanaa. The correspondent last got in touch at around 11:30 GMT on Sunday, the same day when the hostages went on a hunger strike.
The journalist’s acquaintance told Sputnik on Monday that a group of unknown people, most likely linked to the Shiite Houthi rebel movement, also known as Ansar Allah, have raided the home of missing Sputnik’s freelance correspondent in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
“The house was raided by the Houthis, while his whereabouts is still unknown,” the source said.
The TV station, at which the Sputnik freelance correspondent worked and where he went missing, is the Yemen Today channel, known for being linked to the General People’s Congress of the country’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who on Saturday called on Yemeni citizens to protect the country from his recent allies, the Houthi movement.
Saleh has reportedly been killed by the Houthis and his party has confirmed his death, while a spokesman for the Yemeni Army told Sputnik that the Houthis had been tracking Saleh since Saturday and had killed him in a shooting.
Since Wednesday, former allies, namely the Houthis and troops loyal to Saleh, have been engaged in clashes in Sanaa. Dozens have been killed in the hostilities. On Monday, Saleh reaffirmed the end of alliance between him and the Houthis, accusing them of acting against the Yemenis for the sake of their own interests and an Iran-dictated vision of country’s future.
These recent events come amid years of violent conflict in the country between the government headed by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi movement. Since March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi’s request.