Officials, who spoke on a condition of anonymity as they were forbidden to speak to journalists, said gunmen kidnapped bin Mubarak and his two guards when they stopped their car in the center of the city and they claim that no ransom demands has been made.
One of the youngest politicians in Yemen, 46-year-old businessman-turned-political figure bin Mubarak emerged during the uprising that forced president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after 22 years as leader of Yemen – and head of North Yemen for 12 years – in a US-backed agreement after months of violence.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists, said they suspect his kidnappers are Shia Houthi rebels. The Houthis seized large areas of Yemen last year, including Sanaa, last year as part of their protracted power struggle with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
One source told Reuters Mr. Bin Mubarak was kidnapped by the Houthis to stop him presenting a draft of the new constitution to a presidential meeting, the BBC reported.
Critics say the Houthis – who are at odds with bin Mubarak – are a proxy for Shia Iran, which the rebels deny. He reportedly turned down the role of president after the Houthis opposed him for his ties with Hadi.
Meanwhile, thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in central Sanaa against the Shia rebels in a protest called by civil society groups. They marched to the Defense Ministry, chanting: “Revolution against the Houthis! Revolution against terrorism!”
A separate protest in front of the French Embassy saw demonstrators express their outrage over the satirical Paris newspaper Charlie Hebdo depicting the Prophet Mohamed.
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