Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Saudi task force destroys more than 6,300 mines in west Yemen

Houthi rebels have planted mines on roads, and in desert and houses

A Sudanese soldier, stationed in Yemen as part of the Arab Coalition, checks for mines in a exercise near Al Mokha, eastern Yemen. Gareth Browne/The National
A Sudanese soldier, stationed in Yemen as part of the Arab Coalition, checks for mines in a exercise near Al Mokha, eastern Yemen. Gareth Browne/The National

Saudi de-miners in Yemen on Tuesday destroyed 6,325 landmines in Makha city, on the country’s western coast.

“The ordnance that was destroyed on Tuesday included anti-personnel mines, anti-tank landmines and a big amount of improvised explosive devices made by the Houthi militia,” the manager of the mine-clearing programme, Osama Al Gosaibi, told The National.

Mr Al Gosaibi said the project had dismantled and cleared thousands of explosive devices since the humanitarian project was launched in June 2018.

He said de-mining teams were spread from the province of Al Jouf in north-east Yemen to Al Duraihimi in Hodeidah province, in the south-west of the country.

“The province of Al Jouf as well as the province of Taez both are the most mine-affected areas in Yemen,” Mr Al Gosaibi said.

He said the project did not have an accurate number of mine victims in Yemen, but they were "in their thousands and mostly civilians.

"But there are no final statistics for the victims because the information sources vary and many entities are engaged in the mine clearing,” Mr Al Gosaibi said.

He said mines found in Yemen were either made in Iran and improvised explosive devices were locally made by the Houthis, who were supported by Iranian mine experts.

Iran is providing the rebels with materials to make armour-piercing bombs, said a report by an arms tracking group released in March 2018.

“Improvised weapons used by Yemen’s Houthi forces have been manufactured using the same, identically configured components as those recovered from Iranian-backed groups in Bahrain,” said James Bevan, executive director of Conflict Armament Research, a British organisation.

The Houthis have planted mines along motorways, in farms, in the desert and in homes in the northern provinces and west coast of Yemen.

They have also placed explosives in residences in the southern province of Al Dhalea, where they are battling pro-government forces.

Updated: November 21, 2019 02:36 AM

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