Warring Yemeni sides set date for large-scale prisoner exchange: national TV

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SANAA, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni government has set April 11 the day to start implementing a weighty prisoner exchange with Houthi rebels, national Yemen TV reported Friday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross will transport those released via flights scheduled between April 11 and 13 as per the implementation plan under a UN-brokered prisoner swap deal between the Yemeni warring parties, according to the report.

The warring sides reached the swap deal on March 20 following their 10-day negotiation in Switzerland facilitated by UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg, who said the two sides agreed to release 887 conflict-related detainees.

The swap list comprises 706 Houthi members and 181 individuals from the opposite side, al-Masirah TV reported earlier this month, citing Abdulkadir al-Murtada, head of the Houthi prisoner committee.

The 181 detainees include 15 Saudi citizens and three Sudanese nationals from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in the Yemeni civil war, according to the report.

Four journalists sentenced to death by the Houthis, several prisoners of war from the Saudi-led coalition, and relatives of some senior Yemeni officials are among the swap list, said Majid Fadail, a member of the government's negotiation team, in a statement posted on Twitter on March 20.

Nasser Mansour, the brother of former Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, was also on the swap list, Fadail said.

The prisoner exchange agreement is viewed as a significant breakthrough in years.

Since late 2014, Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war after the Iran-backed Houthi militia took control of several northern cities, forcing the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital, Sanaa. The war has led to tens of thousands of casualties and the imprisonment of thousands more. Enditem

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