Tags: ML | Yemen

Saudi Arabia Says 109 Yemenis Traded for 9 Saudis amid war

Monday, 28 March 2016 05:13 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is fighting a war with Yemen's Shiite rebels said Monday that it has traded 109 Yemeni prisoners taken during the fighting in the neighboring country for nine Saudis who were held captive.

It was the latest prisoner exchange ahead of a scheduled April cease-fire and peace talks.

A coalition statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the trade happened on Sunday, but it did not explain how the Saudis ended up in custody in Yemen. It said the Yemenis held had been detained in "areas of operations near the border of Saudi Arabia."

The exchange comes as the Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, have agreed to a cease-fire at midnight on April 10 ahead of peace talks starting April 18 in Kuwait. Earlier this month, another exchange saw Saudi Arabia release seven Yemenis for one of its soldiers.

In its statement, the coalition said it hoped the tentative calm now in Yemen would allow "aid to reach all Yemeni territories" and would support United Nations' efforts to end the fighting.

Yemen's conflict pits the government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, against the Houthis, allied with a former president. The Houthis took over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in September 2014, and the U.S.-backed coalition began airstrikes against them in March 2015.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in fighting, millions are displaced and the Arab world's poorest country has been pushed to the brink of famine.

In the chaos, a powerful al-Qaida affiliate has seized a large swath of territory across the country's south and east, while an upstart Islamic State branch has carried out a series of attacks.

Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

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MiddleEast
A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is fighting a war with Yemen's Shiite rebels said Monday that it has traded 109 Yemeni prisoners taken during the fighting in the neighboring country for nine Saudis who were held captive.It was the latest prisoner exchange...
ML,Yemen
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2016-13-28
Monday, 28 March 2016 05:13 AM
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