Saudi corporal released in first Yemen prisoner swap

Saudi corporal released in first Yemen prisoner swap
A Saudi soldier and seven Yemenis have been exchanged in the first deal of its kind since Riyadh launched a military offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
1 min read
09 March, 2016
The release of the Saudi corporal marks the first prisoner swap in the war [AFP]
Saudi Arabia's official news agency confirmed that it has taken part in a prisoner swap with Yemeni rebels, handing over seven Yemeni captives to Houthi fighters in exchange for a Saudi corporal.

It marked the first announced prisoner swap since a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries went to war against Yemen's Houthi rebels nearly a year ago.

Saudi troops and Houthi fighters have clashed frequently in the border between Yemen and the kingdom. It was not immediately clear whether the rebels had been holding the soldier.

The Saudi Press Agency says Yemeni tribal leaders coordinated the swap that led to the release of Colonel Jaber al-Kaabi.

Wednesday's statement said the seven Yemenis had been detained in areas of military operations near the border with Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition statement also said Yemeni tribal figures helped facilitate the delivery of aid across the border into Yemeni villages.

On Monday, the Houthis sent a delegation to Saudi Arabia, as a ceasefire was reportedly enacted in the north of the country.

Secrecy surrounded the negotiations and this would be the first visit of its kind since Saudi Arabia militarily intervened against the Houthis in Yemen in March 2015.