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Yemen gov’t says prisoner swap with rebels delayed to April 14

The Yemeni government said Saturday a prisoner swap with Houthi rebels has been postponed until April 14.

The swap was scheduled to take place on April 11, but was postponed upon a request from the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), Yemeni negotiator Majid Fada’el tweeted.

“The ICRC asked for additional time for completing procedures for carrying out the swap,” he added.

Abdul Qader al-Murtada, head of the rebel prisoner affairs committee, confirmed that the Houthi group was notified by the ICRC of delaying the exchange for three days.

He, however, blamed the government for obstructing the implementation of the prisoner exchange deal.

There was no confirmation yet from the ICRC.

Under the swap, 887 prisoners from both sides are expected to be released.

Last year, the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels signed a UN-brokered deal to free 2,000 prisoners, but their release was disrupted amid accusations of each party to the other of violating the agreement.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

* Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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