Trump announces recovery of US citizen held hostage in Yemen

Danny Burch, a U.S. citizen, was held hostage in Yemen for 18 months.

February 25, 2019, 5:25 PM

President Donald Trump announced Monday the release and recovery of Danny Burch, a U.S. citizen held hostage in Yemen for 18 months.

"I appreciate the support of the United Arab Emirates in bringing Danny home," Trump said in a statement. "Danny’s recovery reflects the best of what the United States and its partners can accomplish."

Burch, an American oil worker who reportedly had spent years working as an engineer at a state-owned oil company was captured in the country’s capital in 2017, according to the New York Times.

According to a U.S. official, Burch’s rescue was handled diplomatically with no military involvement. Yemen is wracked by civil war and Burch's abduction was blamed on Houthi rebels, according to the Associated Press.

When asked for details about how Burch was released a State Department official said, "We don’t discuss details of recovery operations, to avoid endangering current U.S. and partner-nation hostages, now and in the future."

Armed Yemeni men raise their weapons as they gather near the capital Sanaa to show their support to the Shiite Huthi movement against the Saudi-led intervention, Feb. 21, 2019.
Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

Trump, who released the statement as he traveled to Vietnam for his second summit with North Korea, touted the support of the United Arab Emirates in bringing Burch home. The president tweeted that Burch has been reunited with his wife and children.

Trump also touted under his administration that he has "secured freedom for 20 American captives." That number includes Americans released from captivity in North Korea, Turkey, Pakistan and other countries.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed "deep gratitude" to the UAE for facilitating the release of Burch.

"I applaud the innumerable lines of effort from across the U.S. Government to enable this effort, to include the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien, U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi, and the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell," Pompeo said in a statement.

The State Department official described the UAE’s assistance in securing Burch’s release as "crucial."

ABC News' Luis Martinez contributed to this report.