Thousands of Houthi landmines cleared in Yemen by Saudi-led MASAM initiative
As part of the landmine clearance project “Masam”, Saudi Arabia has removed a total of 168,155 Houthis landmines from various parts of Yemen since the beginning of the initiative in May 2018, as per a report on the official website of the program. In the first week of June, the project’s team reportedly cleared 852 mines including 700 unexploded ordnance and explosive devices laid down by Iranian-backed Houthi militia in the war-torn country. During the last week of May, Masam team over destroyed over 300 mines including the dismantling of 56 anti-tank mines, three explosive devices, and several unexploded ordnance.
Aimed at locating and destroying explosive devices planted by Houthis in Yemen, the Masam project is one of many efforts taken by Saudi Arabia to help the Yemeni population suffering due to the conflict, as asserted by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, Supervisor General of the Saudi King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief). He has emphasized that the project is important in clearing the Houthis landmines which have targeted civilians, causing huge damage to life and property in the country.
In a bid to escalate the efforts to safeguard the Yemeni soil and people from landmines, KSrelief recently extended the contract for the project for one year at a cost of over $30 million. Yemeni Minister of Local Administration Abdul Raqib Fatahextended gratitude towards the KSrelief for their continuous support in preserving the lives of the citizens from mines and explosive devices.
As per media reports, over 1.1 million mines have been planted by Houthi militias during the conflict across the regions of Yemen particularly in Sanaa, Marib, Aden, and Taiz. These anti-vehicles weapons and explosives are developed by the Houthi militias to intimidate and terrorize Yemeni civilians, posing a grave threat to their lives.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, these landmines used by Houthi forces across the governorates of Yemen has resulted in the killing of hundreds of civilians and prevented humanitarian organizations from reaching the communities in need. The Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) had reported that 300,000 mines were cleared by the Yemeni army around the country between 2016 and 2018.
With the ‘Masam’ initiative, Saudi Arabia aims to secure the thousands of citizens of Yemen and ensure that they get access to urgent humanitarian supplies from international organizations.