Muscat: Yemeni Defence Minister Maj Gen Mahmoud Al Subaihi is still being held by Al Houthi militants in Sana’a, a top Yemeni official in Muscat told Gulf News.

The official affirmed that Al Houthis have not yet agreed to release Al Subaihi despite reports which emerged on Sunday saying he was set free by Al Houthis in exchange for the Yemeni government agreeing to join UN-sponsored peace talks.

“Talks will be held on Tuesday between Al Houthis, the Yemeni government and a United Nations delegation to reach agreement regarding the release of Al Subaihi and other Yemeni commanders who were arrested by Al Houthis,” said the official.

The official pointed out that the delegations will discuss the United Nations Resolution that aims to end the crisis in Yemen.

Anonymous government officials in Saudi Arabia and Oman reported yesterday that the Al Houthis released Al Subaihi on Saturday and deported him to Oman as a goodwill gesture when Hadi agreed to join talks.

According to the Aden Al Ghad website, a popular news site based in the port city of Aden, Hadi agreed to engage in direct talks with the Al Houthis provided they release the minister of defence, Hadi’s brother, Nasser Mansour Hadi, and Brigadier General Fadhel Rajjab, a commander of an army brigade in Abyan.

The pro-government officials were captured by the Al Houthis in March while commanding anti-Al Houthi troops in the province of Lahj. The news site did not say if the Al Houthis released the other officials.