January 17, 2021, 3:28 pm

Staff Correspondent

2020-11-30 10:53:55 BdST

Five Bangladeshis among 20 sailors taken hostage by Houthis in Yemen

Twenty seamen, including some Bangladeshis, have been under custody of Houthi rebels in Yemen capital Sana’a since February, according to an Indian newspaper report.

The number of Bangladeshi hostages is five, local media outlets said referring to unconfirmed sources.

The New Indian Express newspaper gave detailed identity of the sailors from India and only mentioned that the hostages include the ones from Egypt and Bangladesh.

The detainees are reportedly crew of three ships which set off to Saudi Arabia from Oman but anchored off Yemen coast. Sana’a is under the control of Houthis as civil war is raging in Yemen.

Though initially the crews were told that they would be freed soon, nothing happened, according to the Express report.

"The rebels demanded a ransom of 200,000 Omani Riyal from the Omani ship owners. But the owners did not respond. They shrugged off the responsibility, saying things are now in the hands of the government. Since then, they were evasive,” the report quoted a hostage as saying.

“It’s like a jail here. We are neither allowed to go out nor anyone is allowed to come inside. Food is being provided. But there is limited medical care. We used to hear the sound of explosions and fire exchange,” another sailor was quoted to have said.

The sailors were captured by Houthi rebels in early February, the report said.

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