March 28-April 3: Hadi appoints new prime minister, vice president; 118 prisoners swapped

Monday, March 28The Saudi-led coalition said on Monday that it swapped 109 Yemeni prisoners for nine Saudis held by Houthi forces. The Houthis announced the exchange on Sunday. This is the second prisoner swap in a month following the March 9 exchange of seven Yemenis for a Saudi lieutenant.

Tuesday, March 29 A UNICEF press release published on Tuesday highlights the toll that the year-long war has taken on Yemen’s children and pressures all parties to put an end to the fighting: “UNICEF verified more than 1,560 incidents of grave violations against children in Yemen. As a result, over 900 children were killed and more than 1,300 were injured in the past year alone. On average, at least six children have been killed or injured every day...These numbers represent the tip of the iceberg as they only indicate the cases that UNICEF was able to verify.”

Hadi published an opinion piece in the New York Times on Tuesday in an attempt to explain why the year-long war has in fact been beneficial to Yemen and the region. Hadi assures readers that a resolution is on the horizon and that “the country’s outlook is brighter today than at any time over the past year.” For insight into the evolution of Hadi’s rhetoric surrounding the conflict, see this piece he published in the New York Times a year earlier.

Wednesday, March 30 Pro-Hadi government forces claimed to have pushed al-Qaeda out of parts of Aden on Wednesday after a three-hour gun battle. Troops and militia were said to have retaken the central prison, deployed on main roads across the Mansourah district, and arrested a number of al-Qaeda members. The partial reclamation comes following coalition and US airstrikes on al-Qaeda targets in Mukalla and Zinjibar.

Thursday, March 31 A large weapons cache on a ship headed for Somalia was reportedly seized by French authorities on March 20. A spokesman for the US Navy’s 5th Fleet told CNN that the arms originated in Iran and their likely destination was Yemen, but he did not specify that the arms were intended for the Houthis. The ship’s crew was released by French authorities.

Houthis mounted a deadly counterattack on Tuesday and Wednesday against government troops advancing down the Red Sea coast from the Saudi border, AFP reported on Thursday. According to military sources, 45 loyalist troops and at least 15 Houthi fighters were killed during clashes in the coastal town of Midi.

Friday, April 1 The UN Special Envoy to Yemen welcomed Monday’s prisoner swap between the Houthis and the Saudis, saying "these initiatives reinforce the spirit of the confidence building measures...and there is no doubt that they can provide an important drive to the political process.” The comments come two and a half weeks ahead of planned talks in Kuwait.

Sunday, April 3 Hadi appointed a new prime minister and vice president on Sunday in a surprise shake-up of senior officials. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who was appointed deputy commander of the armed forces in late February, has been named Yemen's new vice president, while Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, a former official in Saleh's General People's Congress party, is replacing Khaled Bahah as Yemen’s prime minister. Bahah will reportedly now serve as presidential advisor. According to Hadi, the decision to replace Bahah was "due to the failures that have accompanied the performance of the government during the past period in the fields of economy, services and security.”