1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
A picture made available 07 October 2014 shows Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, the director of the Republican Presidency's office, delivering a speech during the conclusion of Yemen_s National Dialogue Conference in Sana_a, Yemen, 24 January 2014.
Image: picture alliance/dpa/Yahya Arhab

Yemen presidential aide abducted

January 17, 2015

Houthi militia members in Yemen have seized a top presidential aide in an attempt to disrupt the process of establishing a new constitution. The violence-plagued country is in the midst of a political crisis.


Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak (pictured), chief of staff to the Yemeni president, was abducted from the car he was traveling in by gunmen in the capital Sanaa on Saturday.

The Houthi group said the abduction was to stop him attending a meeting scheduled for the same day on the country's new draft constitution.

"Holding bin Mubarak will help block the plan to split Yemen into six provinces. This is a political division which is unacceptable for us," a Houthi leader, Ali al-Quhum, told news agency dpa.

The draft constitution reportedly includes plans for making Yemen a federal state consisting of six provinces. That's something the Houthis oppose as it would mean weakening the power they have gained in recent months.

The Houthis, who demand more rights for Yemen's Shiite Muslims, have claimed control over vast areas of territory and have overrun the capital Sanaa since September. Their expansion has brought them into further conflict with local Sunni tribes and also led to clashes with operatives from al Qaeda.

Bin Mubarak, a businessman-turned politician, was selected by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi last year to be prime minister, but his nomination was derailed due to strong opposition from the Houthis.

The constitution is aimed toward resolving the deep regional, political and sectarian tensions in the country, which has been in violent political transition since former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in 2012 following widespread protests.

Yemen is also a stronghold of al Qaeda wing AQAP (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) – a terror organization which most recently made global headlines for claiming to be behind the Paris attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

As well as al Qaeda, Yemen faces a secessionist movement in its south. The security situation in the country is of concern to both Western and Gulf Arab countries, as Yemen borders top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and the key Red Sea shipping route.

se/tj (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the European Parliament

Zelenskyy says Russia world's 'most anti-European force'

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage