Yemen govt, Houthis swap 36 prisoners
Sanaa, March 1 (IANS) The Yemen government and the Houthi militia group swapped 36 prisoners in the country’s conflict-ridden northeastern province of Marib, a military official has confirmed.
The official told Xinhua news agency on Sunday that the Houthis released 18 prisoners linked to the government forces following a tribal mediation.
Meanwhile, the government forces released 18 fighters of the Houthi group caught during previous battles, the source added.
The exchange of prisoners took place in Marib under the auspices of local tribal chiefs, he noted.
Intense fighting erupted early in February as the Houthis tried to advance toward Marib, where dozens were killed or injured from both sides in the non-stop armed confrontations amid heavy airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.
Escalation of fighting between the Yemeni government and the Houthi militia has displaced nearly 1,500 families from Marib’s western areas so far.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni military conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi’s government.