Yemen: Hadi loyalists in prisoner swap with Houthis

Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat—Volunteer forces loyal to Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have completed a prisoner swap with the Houthi movement which launched a coup against Hadi earlier this year, an informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday.
Ali Al-Ahmadi, the spokesman for the volunteers, who are known as the Popular Resistance, said around 40 hostages from the southern port city of Aden were returned as part of the prisoner swap. The hostages include officials, dignitaries, and civilians from the city. Some had been imprisoned by the Houthis for more than 80 days.
The sources said many of the hostages had been kept in bad conditions. A number had been tortured during questioning by the Houthis’ militias.
They said negotiations for the prisoner swap lasted around 40 days, with delays due to Houthi demands including insisting on only releasing 20 of the prisoners in exchange for a larger number kept by the Popular Resistance.
The Popular Resistance and the Houthis have been locked in battles across the country. The Houthis launched a coup against President Hadi in February, placing him and members of the cabinet, including the prime minister, under house arrest. This followed the Houthis’ occupation of the capital Sana’a five months earlier.
Aden has in recent weeks seen fierce battles raging between the volunteers and the Iran-backed Houthis.
According to local sources, seven people were killed and 94 injured following Houthi attacks on civilian residential areas in recent days.
Hadi, who escaped house arrest in March, had been hoping to use Aden as an alternative power base to rival Houthi-controlled Sana’a, but headed to the Saudi capital Riyadh to request military intervention in Yemen from Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies after the southern port city was besieged by the Houthis.
The Saudi-led coalition targeting the Houthis in Yemen began its air assault campaign on March 26. Continued Houthi aggression against civilians has led to the campaign extending until now.



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