Tragic end in Yemen: John Hamen Dies Yemen

Published: November 11, 2015

Tragic end in Yemen: John Hamen Dies Yemen, A former U.S. Army master sergeant working as a contractor in Yemen has died two weeks after being detained by rebel forces in the country’s capital Sanaa, the State Department has confirmed.

John Hamen, a father-of-seven from Chesapeake, Virginia, died in detention last Friday after being stopped at the country’s airport on October 20, according to a Facebook post from his wife, Jen.

The State Department confirmed Mr Hamen’s death, though gave no further details on how it happened ‘out of respect for the privacy of Mr Hamen’s family’.

Jen Hamen wrote: ‘On October 20 John was detained in Yemen while working as a contractor.

‘Many of you probably did not know about this due to this being a privacy concern with officials in the government when it happened.

‘Yesterday around 5.30pm a few people from different agencies came to our home to notify us that John had died while in detainment and then was taken to a hospital.

‘His body will arrive in Dover [Air Force Base in Delaware] in less than 48 hours. I plan to post any further details here.

‘I am sorry that I was not able to call many of his friends, but his phone and laptop were with him when he was detained and I do not have any of his contacts.

‘Our family is heartbroken right now, I have lost the love of my life, my best friend, and my seven kids have lost the best dad ever.’

According to a previous CBS article, which was reposted by the family on a GoFundMe page for Hamen, he was working at the U.N. based in Sanaa, located inside the U.S. embassy.

While he was not contracted directly to the U.N., he was reported to be working for a company that manages the facilities the organization uses inside Yemen.

On Hamen’s LinkedIn page, his most recent role is described as a Special Operations Forces joint training team communications observer, a job which he left in 2012.

The war-torn nation of Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, has been in an almost constant state of conflict since the mid-Nineties, when the Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen unified to make a single country.

Since then various groups, led either by the Sunni-majority south or the Shia-majority north, have fought for control of the country.

Until January this year, the nation was governed by the democratically elected Sunni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who was backed by Sunni allies in Saudi Arabia and the West.

However, after months of in-fighting, the Iran-backed Houthi rebel forces, who are Shia, seized control of large parts of the country after ousting Hadi from the capital Sanaa.

Hadi survived, and fled to Yemen’s second city Aden, which he has declared as the de-facto capital and continues to maintain his legitimate leadership.

Forces loyal to him, supported by a coalition of Gulf-states allies alongside the likes of Turkey and Egypt, have been fighting back against the Houthi insurgency, with limited success.

The United States periodically carries out drone strikes against the Houthi group and its leaders, though these attacks have scaled back in the wake of the group’s expansion.

Further complicating matters is AQAP, an Al Qaeda affiliated group operating largely in the south, which has taken advantage of the chaos to try and further destabilize the government.

ISIS has also launched operations in Yemen, once again trying to become the dominant force of radical Islam in the region instead of Al Qaeda, as it has done in Iraq and Syria.

According to neighbor Michael Bruns, who spoke to, Hamen is due to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors.


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