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India urges Houthis to release citizens captured on ship in Yemen

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India on Wednesday urged Houthi rebels to ensure safety of its seven citizens captured on a UAE-flagged ship Rwabee near the port of Hodeidah in Yemen, and to release them immediately.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Shri Arindam Bagchi said “we urge the Houthis to ensure the safety and well-being of the crew members and release them immediately.

“India is concerned at the recent intensification of fighting in Yemen and hopes that all parties will come to the negotiating table to find a peaceful resolution to the Yemen issue.’’

He explained that the Indian government had been informed that out of the 11 crew members on board the ship, seven were from India.

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“We also understand from the company and other sources that all Indian crew members are safe,” the spokesman said.

Bagchi also stressed that the Indian authorities were closely monitoring developments following the seizure of the ship and making every possible effort to secure their release.

On Jan. 2, Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said that rebels from the Yemeni Houthi movement had hijacked a UAE-flagged cargo ship Rwabee carrying medical equipment off Yemen’s coast in the southern Red Sea.

However, the Houthis themselves said that there was military equipment on board the ship.

Yemen has been engulfed in an armed conflict between the government forces, led by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and the Houthi rebels.

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Since March 2015, the Saudi-led Arab alliance, working in cooperation with Hadi’s forces, has been conducting air, land and sea operations against the Houthis.

The conflict has created arguably the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.

Sputnik/NAN

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