Yemen’s Houthi militia announced on Sunday that an agreement has been reached with the government to swap 823 pro-regime prisoners for 1,400 of its own members, Anadolu has reported. The deal was agreed under the auspices of the UN, explained the head of the Houthi prisoner committee, Abdulkadir Al-Murtada.
According to Anadolu, the 823 prisoners being swapped by the Houthis include 804 Yemeni soldiers and political detainees, 16 Saudi soldiers and three Sudanese soldiers. The swap will also see the release of Nasser Mansour Hadi, the brother of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and Mahmoud Al-Subaihi, his former defence minister.
The Houthi official said that the movement has informed the UN of its willingness to exchange prisoners. It awaits publication of a list of names from the regime, which is scheduled for 29 March, a date agreed by both parties.
The UN, the Saudi-led coalition and the Yemeni government based in Riyadh have yet to confirm the prisoner swap deal. It is reported that around 15,000 people are held in government and Houthi prisons in Yemen.
The Houthis announced yesterday the start of a three-day unilateral ceasefire. They said that they are committed to a permanent truce if the coalition stops air strikes and withdraws its forces.
The country has been mired in a brutal war since late 2014, when the Houthis seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Yemeni government out of the capital, Sanaa. The coalition led by Saudi Arabia entered the conflict in 2015.