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Houthis free 276 Yemeni government’s loyalists

The move was a sign of ‘good will’ on the occasion of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan

Published: Updated:

Shiite Houthi militia group in Yemen announced on Sunday the release of 276 government loyalists who had been held captive for months, in a gesture of good will.

The Houthis’ sabanews.net website said 200 detainees were set free in Rada, a town in the central province of Baida, and another 76 were let go in nearby Dhamar province.

The move was a sign of “good will” on the occasion of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, said the website, citing officials.

The detainees in Rada had been captured for allegedly “cooperating with the Arab military coalition and being loyal to the government” of UN-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, an official there told AFP.

Those freed in Dhamar had been taken in on accusations they had been preparing to join government forces, the official added.
The releases come a day after the exchange of 194 prisoners in Taez, in southwestern Yemen, following tribal mediation unconnected to UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait.

Those negotiations, now in their ninth week, have made no major breakthroughs, even on the issue of prisoners.

Earlier this month, the rebels freed 187 captives while Saudi Arabia released 52.