Yemen Conflict - Prisoners

Yemen Warring Parties Swap Hundreds of Detainees

Yemen Warring Parties Swap Hundreds of Detainees
Thu Dec 17, 2015 17:00:48

Yemeni pro-Saudi forces and Huthis completed an exchange of hundreds of detainees on Thursday, an official said, amid a shaky ceasefire on the third day of UN-sponsored peace talks in Switzerland.

“We have successfully completed the process of exchanging the prisoners,” said Mokhtar al-Rabbash, a member of the prisoners’ affairs committee, which is close to the former fugitive president Mansour Hadi.

The swap involved 370 Huthis and 285 pro-Saudi fighters, he said.

It took place in the Yafaa district of the southern province of Lahj, along the border with the central Bayda province, witnesses said.

The swap was slowed down by concerns over security along the route linking the two exchange points, Rabbash said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross in Sanaa, which was involved in a previous prisoner swap, said earlier that the organization was “not aware of such an exchange.”

Little information has emerged from the open-ended talks in Switzerland aimed at ending Yemen’s devastating conflict.

A fragile ceasefire declared by forces loyal to the former fugitive President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, which began on Tuesday, remained shaky with reports of sporadic violations on the ground.

The Saudi-led coalition supporting Hadi accused Huthi Shiites of flouting the ceasefire immediately, and acknowledged that it had “responded to these violations.”

Heavy clashes erupted overnight Wednesday in Marib province, east of Huthi-held Sana’a, between pro-Saudi fighters and the popular forces (Huthis), military sources said.

Pro-Saudi militants stormed a military base that was controlled by Huthis in northern Marib, following clashes that left an unspecified number of casualties on both sides, the sources said.

More than 5,800 people have been killed in the country — about half of them civilians — and more than 27,000 wounded since March by the start of Saudi airstrikes, according to the UN; AFP reported.

S/SH

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