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Saudi Arabia: 109 Yemeni Detainees Freed in Exchange for 9 Saudis

  • VOA News

FILE - Yemeni people inspect the damage after an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in Sana'a, Yemen, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.

FILE - Yemeni people inspect the damage after an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in Sana'a, Yemen, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Shi'ite rebels in Yemen said Monday it released 109 Yemeni detainees in exchange for nine Saudis who were being held.

A coalition statement did not give details on where or how the Saudis were detained, but said the Yemenis had been held near the Saudi border.

Shi'ite Houthi rebels seized the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, in September 2014, and in March of last year pushed south to the port city of Aden in an offensive that sent President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi fleeing to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis responded by organizing the coalition to conduct airstrikes against the Houthis, and later the conflict included pro-Hadi ground troops battling the rebels and some violence along the Saudi-Yemen border.

The conflict has left more than 6,000 people dead in the poorest Arab nation.

Another 2 million Yemenis have been displaced and 21 million of Yemen's 27 million people need some form of humanitarian or protection assistance.

The United Nations announced last week that the warring parties have agreed to a nationwide truce beginning April 10 with face-to-face peace talks set to follow on April 18 in Kuwait.

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