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Yemen’s Hezbollahi Houthis release 276 prisoners loyal to Hadi

20 June 2016 1:55

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Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement on Sunday announced the release of 276 prisoners loyal to the Saudi-backed resigned president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, in a gesture of good will.

Houthi officials speaking to the Sabanews.net website said 200 of the prisoners were set free in Rada’a, a town in the central province of Bayda. The remaining 76 were released in the nearby Dhamar province.

On Saturday, Ansarullah and forces loyal to Hadi exchanged nearly 200 prisoners.

Local sources said the Hadi loyalists released 118 prisoners, while Ansarullah freed 76 detainees who had been captured during the battle for the southern city of Ta’izz.

The latest exchange has been brokered by local tribesmen and is not related to the UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait taking place between the warring sides of the conflict.

This is one of the largest prisoner swap deal to take place since March 26, 2015, when the Saudi regime started its deadly campaign against Yemen.

In Kuwait, negotiators have made no significant progress other than a preliminary agreement to release some prisoners. Houthis had earlier announced the release of 187 prisoners. Saudi Arabia said in early June that it had freed 52 children.


Brigadier Sadiq Sarhan, a Yemeni army official loyal to the resigned president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, (L), hugs a pro-Hadi prisoner freed in a prisoner swap between Hadi loyalists and Houthis in Ta’izz on June 18, 2016. (Reuters)

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh had pushed the warring parties to release half of all detainees before the holy month of Ramadan.

The UN envoy has also frequently called on the warring parties to “make concessions in order to strike a comprehensive peaceful solution” to the conflict.

The ongoing peace talks on Yemen have failed to establish peace as delegations trade accusations of violation of a ceasefire agreement that took effect on April 11.


Released Houthi prisoners attend a meeting with Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the president of the Houthi Revolutionary Committee, in the capital, Sana’a, upon their release on December 17, 2015. ©AFP

The negotiations, now in their tenth week, have made no major breakthrough. Thousands of Yemeni civilians, including women and children, have been killed since the start of the Saudi-led war on Yemen in March 2015.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen in a bid to reinstate Hadi and crush the Houthi movement.

More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured in the Saudi campaign.


Yemeni children stand inside their house in Sana’a which was destroyed several months ago in a Saudi airstrike, March 12, 2016. (AFP)

According to a report this month by the United Nations, over 14 million Yemenis, more than half of the country’s population, are in need of emergency food and life-saving assistance.

Some reports indicate that the Saudi-led forces are fighting side by side with the al-Qaeda and Takfiri Daesh terrorists against Ansarullah in some parts of Yemen.

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