Houthi rebels have freed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's chief of staff, whose abduction set in motion days of political turmoil in Yemen.

Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak was relased on Tuesday, and handed over to local tribes in the southern province of Shabwa, a representative of the group told the Associated Press news agency.

Mubarak was kidnapped days before the Shia rebel group took over key parts of the capital Sanaa. He was previously nominated as prime minister, but his appointment was rejected by the Shia rebel group.

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbara said freeing Mubarak could be seen as "a first step towards reconciliation" in the country.

"This could be part of a confidence-building step."

Several ministers under Hadi remain on house arrest.

Hadi announced last week that he would leave office under Houthi pressure. But his resignation has not been finalised.

Ahelbara said that despite Mubarak's release, the country remains in a political deadlock.

"It's a very delicate situation now, not only for Yemenis but for neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia," he said. "If this continues, you might see Yemen disintegrating."

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies