Sanaa, May 31 (IANS): A local mediation committee in Yemen announced that it has successfully facilitated an exchange of 52 bodies of fighters between government forces and the Houthi militia.
Hadi Jumaan, leader of the tribal mediation committee, said that under the auspices of local tribal figures, representatives from the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels met at a neutral location in the country's northern province of al-Jawf on Sunday and exchanged the 52 bodies, reports Xinhua news agency.
While expressing gratitude for members of the mediation committee, Jumaan emphasised the power of local initiatives in fostering reconciliation.
Meanwhile, an anonymous government official from Marib province who participated in the exchange said that the Houthis are still holding dozens of bodies of the pro-government soldiers and have refused an "all for all" exchange of bodies.
So far, the Houthi rebel group has not issued an official comment on the exchange, which was viewed as a positive humanitarian step by local observers.
Yemen has been embroiled in a years-long military conflict after the Houthi militia took control of several northern cities and ousted the government from Sanaa in 2014.
The years-long conflict has resulted in a staggering number of casualties and has plunged the Arab world's poorest country into humanitarian crises, including widespread famine.