Yemeni security officials say the country's Shiite rebels have released 20 detainees in the western province of Ibb after pressure from local non-government groups.

The officials said Friday the 20 were taken several weeks ago ahead of a planned march to the city of Taiz, to protest its siege by the rebels known as Houthis.

The officials, who are neutral in the conflict that has splintered Yemen, spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters.

For five months, the Houthis have been blocking food and medicine deliveries to Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city, located 198 kilometers (123 miles) south of the capital, Sanaa.

Yemen's fighting pits the Houthis and forces loyal to a former president against the internationally recognized government backed by a Saudi-led coalition.