Top Yemen Bahai figure disappears amid Houthi crackdown

CAIRO (AP) - Friends of the spokesman for Yemen's Bahai religious minority say he has been detained by Houthi militias who control the country's north.

Two friends of Abdullah Yahia al-Ayolofi said Friday that unidentified men snatched al-Ayolofi from a market in a district called al-Jarraf in Sanaa on Thursday. His whereabouts remain unknown, they said.

A security official tells The Associated Press that Houthi militiamen seized al-Ayolofi earlier in the week.

Al-Ayolofi, a convert to Bahaism, has been outspoken about Houthi abuses against Bahai followers.

All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

The Houthis' leader has targeted Bahais in public speeches describing them as "satanic" and several Bahais have been detained, tortured and held incommunicado, according to the community's United Nations representative.