(Pakistan Point News - 19th Aug, 2018) MARIB, Yemen, 19th August, 2018 (WAM) - Thousands of mines planted by the Houthi rebels across Yemeni territories are being removed by the teams of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM), who have recently managed to clear large areas in Marib and Saada of an unprecedented volume of landmines and unexploded weapons that contaminate rural and urban war zones, maiming and killing innocents civilians.
In Yemen, the buried explosives were planted by the coup perpetrators in a random manner as part of a slash-and-burn retreat typical of rebel groups.
"Three Masam teams operating in Al Gafina area in Marib, are sparing no efforts to restore normalcy in the recently liberated area and managed lately to remove scores of mines and unexploded munition in line with internationally accepted standards," said MASAM Team leader Colonel Abdullah Al Bahari.
MASAM, launched by King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) on June 25th 2018, tackles the plague of landmines left behind by Iran-backed Al Houthi militants as they retreat from battlefield losses. Landmines constitute a major impediment to social and economic development efforts and expose citizens to potentially fatal risk for generations to come, MASAM says.
The programme strives to help the Yemeni people to overcome the many tragedies caused by the deployment of these landmines, and to enable the country to become more independent to take responsibility in removing mines themselves.
In Zat Al Ray area, the Masam teams started their work today and managed to clear anti-tank mines, Colonel Al Bahari said, adding that the area is totally mined and there is an estimated 500 mines per field in the zone.
"Mining populated areas is an unprecedented crime in the history of humanity that is being perpetrated by the rebels in Yemen in a way that flies in the face of all relevant international laws and conventions, said Commander of the Fifth Brigade in Saada, Brigadier Saleh Qaroosh.
"All the liberated areas are replete with mines planted by the rebels and they still pose a threat to the civilians despite the efforts made by the MASAM teams whose top priority is to safeguard the locals," he added, remarking that there are still camouflaged mines that have been planted randomly in addition to other explosives in remote areas not reached yet by the demining teams.
"The demining teams affiliated to the National Yemeni Army in Saada have removed around 3,000 mines and explosive charges in Mandaba area in Baqim District," Qaroosh said, noting that the mines had been planted by the coup perpetrators before they had been defeated and withdrawn from the area.
"Out of these mines, there are around locally-manufactured 500 explosive charges weighing 80 kg each," he said, explaining that the militias are using devices that enable the remote explosion of improvised land-mines manufactured from the remnants of missiles.
Statistics indicate that over 10,000 mines have been cleared across liberated areas in Saada governorate, he said, noting that the Houthi militias are mining all areas before they withdraw without having any concern about the lives of innocent people.