Six Saudis detained by Yemen’s Houthi militia were released and flown to Riyadh on Wednesday, officials said, as efforts to end the five-year conflict gain momentum.
The release, overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), comes after 128 Houthis detained in Saudi Arabia were freed and repatriated to Sanaa in November.
“We are happy to see a momentum occurring with the release of detainees that has been happening on both sides,” said Freya Raddi, ICRC’s deputy head of delegation in Yemen.
“Today is important as six more families will be reunited. It is a special moment when this happens, and we are honored to be part of it,” he added.
The Arab Coalition, supporting the Yemeni legitimate government and fighting the Houthis, confirmed the six “prisoners of war” had arrived at Riyadh’s King Salman airbase on Wednesday, Saudi state media reported.
It was unclear when and under what circumstances the Saudis were detained.
The Houthi-run al-Masirah television said the prisoners were handed over to the ICRC, adding that they were waiting for the coalition to reciprocate by releasing “our prisoners”.
The Houthis freed by Riyadh in November had been captured in various parts of Yemen between 2015 and earlier this year.