Two Americans Freed After Being Held Six Months in Yemen

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By Kristen Welker

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.

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 helping to deliver aid throughout the region for Transoceanic Development and relief organizations among its clients, spokesman Ken Luce told the Associated Press.

“I am speechless,” Darden’s wife, Diana Loesch, said. “I am really thankful for all the diplomatic efforts."

Scott Darden with his family.Family Photo

His mother, Pat Darden, told NBC News: “We’re extremely grateful.”

Transoceanic CEO Gregory Rusovich said in a statement, "We cannot begin to express the sense of joy and relief we feel with Scott's release. He has been safely evacuated and will be reunited with his family very soon.”

Farran's family declined to comment.

An administration official told 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 the official.

Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the government of Oman for helping to secure the release of Darden and Farran.

At least one American remains detained in Yemen.

"We will continue to work tirelessly to pursue the release of all Americans detained abroad unjustly, including those who remain in the region," Kerry said in a statement.

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.

Erin Calabrese and Associated Press contributed.