Yemen government proposes prisoner swap with Houthi rebels

Yemen government proposes prisoner swap with Houthi rebels
Yemen's government welcomed the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by proposing a prisoner swap deal with Houthi rebels in the country's north.
2 min read
17 May, 2018
The number of those detained by warring parties are not known [Getty]

Yemen's government proposed on Wednesday a prisoner exchange with the Iran-backed Shia Houthi rebels for the holy month of Ramadan.

A statement issued by the Saudi ministry of information, detailed an offer made by Yemeni Information Minister Moammer al-Iryani and Human Rights Minister Mohammed Askar to the rebels, who have been at war with the government since 2015.

The proposal was made Wednesday evening as Muslims around the world welcomed the month of Ramadan.

The ministers called for Red Cross and Red Crescent to mediate and ensure all prisoners can return home for the holy month.

This includes 14 Yemeni journalists held by the Houthis and an unspecified number of foreign detainees.

Tribal mediation has in the past led to the release of hundreds of prisoners by the warring parties. The number of those still detained is unknown.

A Saudi-led Arab alliance entered the Yemen was in March 2015 to support the internationally-recognised government.

At least 10,000 people have died during the war, the vast majority civilians.

Yemen has been gripped by one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, with thousands dying from cholera and other diseases. Millions are at risk of famine, largely due to a Saudi-led blockade on Yemen, which has only been partially lifted.