On Thursday, Yemen’s sides are “prepared” to exchange hundreds of captives

Al-Mukallaa – Yemeni government negotiator told Arab Media on Tuesday that the warring parties in Yemen and the International Committee of the Red Cross have finished making preparations for a three-day prisoner swap operation that will start on Thursday.

Majed Fadhail, a member of the government’s delegation to prisoner exchange negotiations, stated that the ICRC had finished meeting and verifying the names of the potential freed prisoners and that the ICRC’s planes will start transporting dozens of Yemeni government prisoners from the Houthi-held Sanaa International Airport to Aden on Thursday. These prisoners include former Defense Minister Mohammed Al-Subaihy and the former president’s brother Nasser Mansour Hadi. He claimed that after dropping off more than 200 Houthis, the aircraft would return to Sanaa.

On the second and third days, ICRC planes will fly detainees from Sanaa to Marib, Aden, and Mokha airports in Yemen, as well as Abha and Riyadh airports in Saudi Arabia, and return Houthi prisoners from those airports to Sanaa. These detainees will include prisoners from the Arab coalition and four journalists.

In Switzerland last month, the Yemeni government and the Houthis came to an agreement through UN mediation to release more than 800 prisoners, including four journalists who were on death row and well-known military and political officials.

In exchange for easing restrictions on Sanaa Airport and Hodeidah’s port, the Yemeni government sharing oil revenues with them, and paying public employees in the region they control, the Houthis agreed to Saudi peace proposals at the beginning of this month to exchange all prisoners with their adversaries, open roads in the besieged city of Taiz, and stop attacking oil facilities there.

Observers in Yemen claim that the Houthis quickly changed their stance on peace initiatives out of concern for losing the support of Iranians who made peace with Saudi Arabia. The Houthis had long refused peace proposals and requests to relieve their siege of Taiz.

Separately, in March, landmine and explosive remnants of war explosions caused 17 civilian deaths, according to the UN Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement, in a number of Houthi-controlled areas throughout the western province of Hodeidah.

According to UN observers, landmines in Hodeidah’s Al-Hali and At Tuhayta districts resulted in the deaths of eight civilians, including a woman and a child, and the injuries of nine others. This represents a 21 percent increase in human casualties in the province compared to the same month last year and a 19 percent decrease compared to February 2023.

In addition, they noted that occurrences involving landmines and other explosives in the province of Hodeidah resulted in 99 Yemeni deaths and 209 injuries between March 2022 and March 2023.

Hodeidah is the most contaminated Yemeni province, where the Houthis had planted thousands of landmines over the previous six years, according to Yemeni deminers and others from the Saudi-funded demining program, who claim that hundreds of Yemeni civilians had been killed and hundreds injured in landmine explosions across the country.

Since January of last year, Houthi-laid landmines and explosive remnants of war have killed at least 349 Yemenis and injured 523 others in 11 Yemeni regions, according to Yemeni Landmine Records, a nonprofit that monitors civilian land mine deaths in the nation.

The occasional combat between the Yemeni government and the Houthis resulted in the displacement of 5,018 people, or 1,209 families, from their houses and tents in Marib, Shabwa, Hodeidah, and Taiz in March, according to the Executive Unit for IDP Camps of the Yemeni government.