Yemen's Houthi rebels 'agree' to largest prisoner swap since Sanaa takeover

Yemen's Houthi rebels 'agree' to largest prisoner swap since Sanaa takeover
2 min read
29 March, 2022
The Iran-aligned Houthis have reportedly agreed to swap more than 800 prisoners for 1,400 of their fighters captured by the Saudi-led coalition.
The Houthis captured the Yemen capital in 2014 [Getty]

Yemen's Houthis have said they are ready to swap around 823 members of the Saudi-led coalition it holds in return for the release of 1,400 rebel fighters, according to reports.

If successful, it will be the biggest prisoner swap between the warring parties since the Houthi rebels took over Sanaa in 2014, sparking intervention from a Saudi-led coalition force six months later.

The Iran-aligned Houthis have reportedly told the UN they are ready for the prisoner swap.

They expect the list of prisoners set to be freed to be finalised on 29 March.

The UN, the Saudi-led coalition, and the Yemen government are yet to confirm the deal.

Houthi official Abdul Qader al-Mortada said on Twitter that the soldiers the rebels have agreed to release include 16 Saudi and three Sudanese soldiers, alongside more than 800 Yemenis.

This includes prominent officials such as Nasser Mansour Hadi, the brother of Yemen President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and former Defence Minister Mahmoud Al-Subaihi.

A deal between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition could help boost efforts for a truce or peace talks to end a brutal conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly Yemeni civilians.

The war, with the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels on one side and the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition on the other, has raged for eight years leading to the spread of fatal diseases and hunger.

The UN has repeatedly called for an end to the violence and calls the prolonged conflict one of the world's worst humanitarian catastrophes.