On Monday, President Donald Trump announced that he had secured the release of Danny Burch, a U.S. citizen from Texas who was held hostage in Yemen for 18 months.
Burch was an employee for the Yemeni Safer oil company when Houthi rebels reportedly abducted him from the capital in broad daylight while dropping his children off at a school event in September 2017, the National Review reports.
“It is my honor today to announce that Danny Burch, a United States citizen who has been held hostage in Yemen for 18 months, has been recovered and reunited with his wife and children,” Trump tweeted. “I appreciate the support of the United Arab Emirates in bringing Danny home.”
In follow-up tweets Trump added:
“Danny’s recovery reflects the best of what the United States & its partners can accomplish. We work every day to bring Americans home. We maintain constant and intensive diplomatic, intelligence, and law enforcement cooperation within the United States Government and with our foreign partners. Recovering American hostages is a priority of my Admin, and with Danny’s release, we have now secured freedom for 20 American captives since my election victory. We will not rest as we continue our work to bring the remaining American hostages back home!”
“In 2017, U.S. citizen Danny Burch was taken hostage from Sanaa, Yemen. Today he is safe and secure, and is reunited with his wife and children,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, USA Today reports. “The family has asked for privacy as they recover from this ordeal.”
In a tweet, Pompeo also thanked the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Robert C. O’Brien, the American Embassy in Yemen, and the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell “for their efforts.”
“The safety of Americans is a high priority of the @realDonaldTrump Administration,” Pompeo added.
The Houthi rebels who reportedly abducted Burch are backed by Iran and currently in a civil war that started in 2015. The conflict is largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that has led to a humanitarian crisis and tens of thousands of civilian casualties.
The National Review also reports that the reason for Burch’s kidnapping is unknown, but he flew to the neighboring country of Oman with Houthi leaders in January.
Burch reportedly moved to Yemen in 2003 to work in the oil industry, married a Yemeni woman named Nadia Forsa, and had three children with Forsa.
Burch is the latest American hostage that the Trump Administration has helped free. But there have been many others including:
- Sabrina De Sousa from Portugal in March 2017
- Aya Hijazi and Mohamed Hassanein from Egypt in April 2017
- Otto Warmbier from North Korea in June 2017
- Joshua Boyle, Caitlin Coleman and their three children from Afghanistan in October 2017
- LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill from China in November 2017
- Kim Dong-Chul, Kim Hak-Song, and Kim Sang-Suk from North Korea in May 2018
- Joshua Holt from Venezuela in May 2018
- Pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey in October 2018