Middle East

Yemen war: Rebels and Saudi-led coalition swap prisoners

Houthi rebels (file photo) Image copyright AP
Image caption The exchange comes ahead of planned peace talks and a ceasefire (file photo)

The Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen say they have swapped prisoners.

Both sides said nine Saudis were exchanged for 109 rebel fighters.

The latest swap comes ahead of a planned ceasefire and renewed peace talks set for next month.

The war passed its first anniversary on Saturday. More than 6,000 people, half of them civilians, have been killed, the UN says, since the start of the Saudi-led campaign.

The coalition launched its offensive with the aim of repelling the rebels and restoring exiled President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to power.

Yemeni media said the nine freed Saudis were soldiers, Reuters news agency reported.

The UN says both sides have agreed to a ceasefire starting 10 April, followed by negotiations a week later.

Previous unilateral ceasefires announced by the coalition have been short-lived, and on-off peace talks have failed to stop the fighting.

The war has had a catastrophic effect on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which was already the poorest country in the Arab world, with four out of five people now needing aid to survive.