Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Yemen rebels free 200 captured soldiers: mediator

Source: AFP, 29/07/2010
SANAA — Yemeni Shiite rebels freed on Wednesday 200 soldiers they had captured two days earlier and promised to release other prisoners, both civilian and military, a mediator said.

"The Huthi rebels freed soldiers captured" during fighting in the Al-Amishiya region of the northern province of Amran, said the mediator.

AFP confirmed this from tribal sources close to the rebels.

On Tuesday, a military official said the Huthis had captured 200 soldiers," which he said belong to the 72nd Regiment of the army's Republican Guards."

The soldiers were reportedly captured after rebels took control on Monday of a strategic army post in Al-Zaala, in Amran, where rebels and army-backed tribes had been engaged in deadly fighting.

Earlier on Wednesday, the defence ministry denied that rebels had captured soldiers from the Republican Guards, the state news agency Saba reported.

"The republican guards have no presence in the alleged posts," the spokesman said.

It was not clear however if soldiers from another unit had been captured by rebels in northern Yemen.

The clashes erupted on July 19 and lasted nine days, rattling an already fragile truce agreed in February that ended a six-month round of fighting in the conflict between the rebels and the army, which started in 2004.The Huthis and the government blame one another of violating the truce

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