Wife of American held in Yemen makes appeal for his release
WASHINGTON — The wife of an American man detained by rebel forces in Yemen in late March is pleading for his safe return as diplomatic efforts to free him have faltered amid a violent political struggle between rebels who have seized power and a Saudi-backed campaign to dislodge them.
Scott Darden, 45, a logistics specialist working for a shipping company, remains in the custody of Houthi rebels who took control of the presidential palace and dissolved Parliament earlier this year. He has been imprisoned in Sana, the country’s capital, along with two other Americans.
‘‘We are eagerly awaiting his arrival to come home,’’ said Diana Loesch, Darden’s wife. ‘‘We are asking for his safe return.’’
‘‘He loved the Yemeni people,’’ she added.
At the urging of the US government, Loesch had kept details about his detention out of the media. But on Friday, Darden’s best friend decided to go public, creating a Facebook page calling for his release.
‘‘I am frustrated by the absence of any tangible progress,’’ John Schlichter said in an e-mail. ‘‘Americans deserve to know that their fellow citizen, a good-hearted man earning an honest living abroad, was taken prisoner in a conflict that has nothing to do with him.’’
Darden is from Atlanta, but his family was living in Dubai at the time of his arrest.
US officials familiar with Darden’s case said he was arrested with another American, a 54-year-old man from Michigan. Officials said Darden had sought help from the American when a Saudi-led coalition began bombing Yemen to dislodge the rebels.
A third American, a 35-year-old Muslim convert who was in Yemen teaching English, is also still believed to be in the custody of the Houthis, according to US officials.
Efforts to reach the families of the two men were unsuccessful.
The men were among a group of Americans held by the Houthis that included a journalist, Casey Coombs, who was freed in early June, with the help of Oman.