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Saudi land-mine clearing project Masam raises alarm over persistent Houthi threat

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03 Aug 2023 01:08:23 GMT9
03 Aug 2023 01:08:23 GMT9
  • Masam has cleared more than 400,000 mines and other explosive devices since it was launched in 2018
  • Masam chief says Houthi’s land-mine planting activities ignored international humanitarian law

Arab News

RIYADH: Masam, a Saudi project to clear land mines in Yemen, has cleared more than 400,000 mines, explosive devices and unexploded ordnance since it was launched in 2018, the project’s director said. 

However, the threat still looms large, with no clear end in sight, Osama Al-Gosaibi added.

“Yemen is facing a major crisis regarding the issue of mines, which requires more serious and rigorous action to be taken by the international community. There are no promising prospects when it comes to putting an end to this tragedy,” he said.

Al-Gosaibi highlighted the scale of the threat, saying the Houthi’s insistence on targeting Yemenis by planting different types of mines in several regions ignored international humanitarian law.

Explosive devices cleared by Masam included a large number of camouflage mines, he said.

“They make explosive devices that look like rocks, and they also created mines that were actually traps. Therefore, it can be said that they are not only targeting civilians, but also the people who will come and try to clear these mines. They are targeting the teams working on the ground. 

“Today, we can say that the anti-personnel mines made by Houthis in Yemen have become deadly, as they do not only aim to cause injuries, but also death.”

Al-Gosaibi said that Yemeni teams have been reorganized and equipped to take part in the National Mine Action Program.

“We are mainly working on guiding and supervising these teams because the Yemenis themselves will remain in Yemen to carry on with the mission in the long run,” he said.

Referring to the likely end of the mine crisis in Yemen, Al-Gosaibi said that “if enough funding, teams and information are made available to us, I believe that it will require another 10 years.”

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