World, Middle East

Gov’t, Houthis exchange prisoners in Yemen’s Maarib

24 detainees released in prisoner swap between pro-government forces and Shia Houthi militia in eastern Yemen

Ali Abo Rezeg   | 02.09.2016
Gov’t, Houthis exchange prisoners in Yemen’s Maarib FILE PHOTO

Ankara

MAARIB, Yemen 

A total of 24 political detainees were released Friday in a prisoner swap between forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Manour Hadi and the Shia Houthi militia in Yemen’s eastern Maarib province.

Saleem Alaw, coordinator of a local NGO, said that each side released 12 of the other’s detainees in line with an agreement reached earlier.

"The swap took place in Maarib province, which was recently captured by pro-government forces," Alaw said, adding that the exchange was conducted under the supervision of the Yemeni Red Crescent and local tribal sheikhs.

The Houthi-linked Organization for Prisoners and Disappeared confirmed the news on its official Facebook account.

Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Despite several rounds of Kuwait-hosted peace talks, the two sides remain locked in conflict, especially in and around Houthi-held Sanaa.

*Reporting by Ali Owaida; Writing by Ali Abo Rezeg

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