Saudi Arabia trades 109 Yemeni prisoners for nine captured Saudis

Saudi Arabia has handed over 109 Yemenis in exchange for nine Saudis captured near the kingdom's southern border with Yemen, the Saudi-led alliance in Yemen said in a Monday statement.

It was unclear whether the Yemeni government or the Shiite Houthi rebels had negotiated the deal, nor did the statement specify when the prisoners were captured or the reason for their detention.

The swap occurred on Sunday as part of the ceasfire along the border announced earlier this month between Saudi-led alliance in Yemen and the rebels, Saudi state-run news agency SPA reported, citing spokesman for the alliance Ahmmed Assiri.

Both the alliance and the Houthis had also agreed to a ceasefire to start at midnight on April 10 all over Yemen ahead of UN-brokered peace talks scheduled for April 18 in Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia and Yemen in recent months have begun swapping detainees.

Last September, Saudi Arabia extradited nine fugitives to Yemen, including two who were thought to have links to the October 2002 attack on a French supertanker off Yemen.

The Sana'a government handed over eight Saudi nationals, including Bandar bin Abdul Rahman al-Ghamdi, who is believed to be a member of a group that had planned terror acts in Riyadh.

Yemen has been in turmoil since September 2014, when Iran-backed Houthis overran the capital Sana'a and began making advances in the country.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, mainly Sunni Gulf countries, launched an air campaign in March 2015 against the rebels who control large parts of Yemen.  

Saudi Arabia fears that the rebels will give its regional rival Iran a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula.

Last update: Mon, 28/03/2016 - 12:58

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