Red Cross: Yemen prisoner swap could involve 16,000 detainees

The prisoner exchange will also include prisoners detained outside Yemen, the ICRC said

epa07229448 Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Middle East gives a news conference in Sana’a, Yemen, 13 December 2018. According to reports, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is set to facilitate a prisoner swap in Yemen involving more than 15,000 war prisoners, missing and forcibly detained people allegedly captured in the nearly four-year conflict between Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and the Houthi rebels as part of UN-brokered peace consultations in Sweden between the two warring factions.  EPA/YAHYA ARHAB
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Yemen's warring parties have exchanged lists with a total of 16,000 people they believe to be detained, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday.

The move is part of a prisoner swap deal signed during UN-backed talks in Sweden last week.

The warring parties set January 20 as a preliminary deadline for the prisoner swap.

The ICRC had said that it will oversee the transfer of detainees.

Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Middle East, told a briefing on Wednesday that his team will have 10 days next month to interview those released and arrange their transfers.

They are expected to include people detained outside Yemen, he said, without clarifying where they are being held.

They will also involve some foreigners held in the country, he added.

Up to 18,000 Yemenis are believed to be detained in Houthi prisons, including 1,700 minors and at least 90 women, a Yemeni government official told The National last week.

Houthi rebels are also believed to have captured members of the Saudi-led coalition, including Saudi Arabian troops.

Peace talks in Sweden have also brokered a ceasefire in the port of Hodeidah, which went into effect on Tuesday night.

There have been reports of sporadic shelling on the outskirts of Hodeidah, despite the agreement.


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