Abductees Mothers and Children: Life Between Painful Longing and Fear of Eternal Loss

In Yemeni prisons, thousands of abductees are being held with no rights, leaving thousands of families suffering trauma and devastation. Stories of the abductees’ families’ and children’s suffering were written with words that carried abundance of repression and hope. We are trying to give them a voice that can be heard by humanity and grant them the needed support.

Some of the children were victims of arrest where they were detained and treated as hostages in order to get to their fathers. Others witnessed their fathers’ savage abduction process which usually is accompanied with a series of grave human rights violations such as storming houses and terrorizing families.


Children Who Were Traumatized due to Being Abducted and Detained as Hostages.

32 cases of child abduction cases have been reported to Abductees’ Mothers Association. That is only the number of cases that could be reported.

Ahmed Abdulnoor is a sixteen-year-old abductee who was abducted by Houthi armed group and detained at Al-Qala’a prison in Al-Hudaydah. He was tortured by electrocution and brutal beating. Wet qat and tobacco were forced down his throat to force him to admit to false accusation during interrogation.

Similarly, Abdulqader Al-Maqwali, a sixteen-year-old teen, was detained and seriously tortured until his spine was severed. His only charge was that his father had joined the resistance. Even though Abdulqader had lived with his divorced mother, he was abducted and used as a bargaining chip, and was only released in a prisoner exchange deal after a year of detention and torture.

Abdullah Ahmed Omar, a six-year-old child, was abducted along with his father while they were waiting at the bus stop after school. They were shocked when a car full of armed men pulled up next to them and forced them to get inside. They were taken to their neighborhood where Abdullah’s father was forced to call his friend who was also at the risk of abduction. The father took the chance of distracting the armed men with the new victim and told his son to run to his uncle’s house. The little boy made it. However, his father was always threatened during interrogations of abducting his son again.


Nightmares, Introversion, And Constant Weeping Are Some of the Effects of Abduction On Abductees’ Children.

Many children were victims of trauma where they suffered different symptoms such as anger issues and aggression. Others suffered different symptoms like; introversion, enuresis, sleep deprivation, nightmares, and nail biting. These different symptoms have been widely spread especially among the children who witnessed their fathers’ abduction.

Mother of six-year-old S.H reported the case of her son who suffers enuresis and nightmares where he always wakes up calling out his abducted father. She says that her son’s condition worsens every day he spends away from his father.

Abdulrahman’s mother says “Since my husband was abducted four years ago, I have been suffering from sleep deprivation and nightmares. At first, I hid the truth that he was abducted from our children and had to face their daily questions alone. They finally found out that their father is detained at Political Security Prison. My youngest daughter always wonders where her father is and why all the other children live with fathers but not her.” She said that her children always remember what happened to their father and that she often hears them crying in their beds.

Mohammed’s mother, the wife of one the abductees who were sentenced to death, said her children’s only dream have become that they could hug their father peacefully. According to her, they are suffering from depression and constant weeping and are living in a continuous fear of executing their father. Her youngest daughter does not remember her father clearly, so she sits with her older siblings to tell her stories about him and she always ends up crying.

Children have become unsociable and suffered from lack of concentration, introversion, and losing appetite. All this added a huge load on other family members who already suffers different psychological traumas.


Different Children Cling to Another Family Member and Spending Holidays in Sorrow.

Symptoms hit their peak during holidays. Younger children cling onto a family member to fill his or her abducted father’s absence.
Yousuf’s mother says that her six-year-old son, Yousuf, and her nine-year-old daughter, Maryiah, refused to put on their holiday clothes and that Yousuf innocently said “Please call the Eid and tell him not come until my father is free.”

M.A was only a year old when his father was abducted. It has been three years now and he is four years old. Every time he sees an adult man, he hangs on to him and calls him dad.


Violations against abductees’ families continue on daily basis. They greatly affect the young generation psychologically and emotionally. Therefore, Abductees’ Mothers Association calls upon the international community and human rights organizations to place the needed pressure to immediately release the abductees in order to stop the impact of abduction and detention on abductees and their families.