Yemen's Christians forced to worship underground amid ongoing conflict, bishop says

Christians in war-torn Yemen are being forced to worship in hiding in order to stay safe, a church official in the region revealed.

According to an article in the Catholic Herald, Bishop Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia, revealed that some of the Christians still remaining in Yemen are conducting meetings and liturgical services in the basement of a villa in the capital city of Sanaa out of fear for their safety as the conflict worsens.

Hinder also said that it is not Christians in general who are in danger from the growing conflict, but the foreigners who have been ordered to "leave the country."

The Catholic Herald noted that the Catholics in Yemen are mainly foreigners from India who are in Yemen for employment.

The apostolic vicar also said that he is not convinced that the warring factions will agree to a temporary ceasefire to give these foreigners time to leave Yemen as requested by the United Nations.

The conflict in Yemen is the latest in a series of clashes in the Middle East since the Arab Spring in 2011. It began in January when Houthi rebels marched into the capital and ousted President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi from power.

Hadi then sought the help of regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, to return him to the presidency. In response, bombers from Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes in March to remove the Houthi rebels, who claim that they have the support of the Yemeni people.

According to CNN, there are fears that Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war for domination of the region.

Iran has supplied arms to the Houthi rebels, who belong to the Shi'a sect of Islam, like Iran - Hadi's government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are Sunnis.