Two Americans held for nearly six months in war-ravaged Yemen have been released and sent to Oman, the White House said Sunday.
NBC News confirmed the identities of the freed men as Scott Darden, a 45-year-old working for a New Orleans logistics firm, and Sam Farran, a 54-year-old security consultant from Michigan.
The Washington Post first reported the men’s release.
Darden and Farran had been held since March 27 after being detained by Shiite Houthi rebels fighting government forces in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.
Darden was reportedly helping to deliver aid throughout the region for Transoceanic Development and relief organizations among its clients, according to spokesman Ken Luce.
“I am speechless,” Darden’s wife, Diana Loesch, told The Washington Post. “I am really thankful for all the diplomatic efforts.”
An administration official tells NBC News securing their release was complicated given the lack of cooperation from the Houthi rebels, as well as the violence and instability in the region. The recently created Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, led by the FBI, helped with the effort, according to this official.
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.