Two U.S. citizens held in Yemen have been released, according to the White House. Although the names of the individuals were not immediately released by the administration, they are reportedly two businessmen from New Orleans and Michigan.
A spokesman for New Orleans-based logistics company Transoceanic Development said an employee, 45-year-old Scott Darden, was one of them. The other was identified as Sam Farran, 54, a security consultant from Michigan, according to The Washington Post. The Transoceanic spokesman said Darden had been held since March.
A statement released by the National Security Council welcomed the release of the two men and praised the assistance of Yemen’s neighbor, Oman, in helping secure their freedom.
“Since we first learned of their detention, the United States Government has been in regular contact with their families and representatives and, in coordination with our international partners, we have worked tirelessly to secure their release,” the statement said. “We are deeply appreciative of all who were involved in producing this outcome, including in particular the Government of Oman under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.”
“This outcome underscores that we have been and will continue to be tireless in pursuing the release of all Americans detained abroad unjustly, including those who remain in the region,” it said.
By way of background, The Associated Press notes: “The war in Yemen has pitted Shiite Houthi rebels and forces fighting for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against fighters loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, as well as southern separatists, local militias and Sunni extremists. The conflict escalated in March as a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition launched airstrikes against the Houthis.”