> With the passage of time and the fall of thousands of victims; Yemenis have a great deal of experience in avoiding mines. However, this experience is not enough in front of the Houthi militias’ sophistication in planting and camouflaging them even on demining teams, and the torrents came to move them outside their fields, exacerbating the disaster, while the militias continue to plant more of them to booby the future of Yemeni lives.
The past two weeks have witnessed the fall of a number of civilians as victims of Houthi mines in separate areas, and until the moment of writing this story; The latest victim is a member of the engineering teams for demining in the Al-Dhabab area, west of Taiz governorate. According to the Yemeni Landmine Monitor, the mine that exploded was working with a thermal sensor planted by the Houthis.
Another civilian was killed while he was working on his bulldozer in the Al-Hawk area of Al-Hodeidah Governorate (west), while three others were killed in the Abs district of Hajjah Governorate (northwest), while 7 Ethiopian refugee travelers were injured in the Al-Labanat area in Al-Jawf Governorate, northeast. The capital, Sana’a, including 5 women, and a citizen in Al-Durayhimi district, near the city of Al-Hodeidah.
The Saudi project to clear mines in Yemen (Masam) announced that it had cleared 1,167 mines during the past week, including 11 anti-personnel mines, 486 anti-tank mines, 662 unexploded ordnance, and 8 explosive devices, bringing the number of mines that were removed last August to 3,709 mines. .
According to the Masam website, The number of mines cleared since the beginning of the project amounted to 356,024 mines planted by the Houthi militia in the various governorates and areas they passed through.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Yemeni Mine Monitor, Fares Al-Hamiri, revealed new Houthi plans and methods for planting mines, and with new, previously unknown techniques with the aim of inflicting the greatest human losses on citizens, engineering teams for demining, soldiers and even livestock, stressing that the militias made many areas Floating on fields of random mines, with various networks.
In his interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Humairi accused the Houthis of continuing the process of laying mines in all its forms, as they recently deployed naval mines towards Yemeni islands off Midi in Hajjah Governorate, towards the Hanish archipelago and near the coast of Al-Khokha in the Red Sea in the west of the country, in addition to laying more mines At the eastern, western and northern entrances to the city of Taiz.
Al-Humairi explained that the Houthis rely on planting locally made mines, and they have recently developed these mines in a remarkable way, and it appears that it is the result of foreign military expertise, as they plant thermal and infrared mines, and camera-operated mines, some of which are equipped with high-sensitivity sensors, in addition to Professionally camouflaged packages.
Al-Humairi notes that the Houthis’ planting of mines was not for military purposes, as the excessive planting targeted inhabited areas, roads, service facilities, farms and areas for grazing livestock, without making a distinction between a military and a civilian target.
He also revealed that the Houthi militias deliberately targeted the engineering teams working in the field of removal and disinfection, by placing more than one mine, one on top of the other, and burying them in the dirt, and this represents one of the methods to hunt the workers in the field of disinfection, in addition to planting more than one mine by the joint linkage method. With a single sensor, as well as linking some minefields to several cameras, to detonate simultaneously to cause the greatest number of losses.
He added that the engineering teams are facing great difficulties in clearing operations as a result of the techniques that the Houthis have introduced into mines, booby traps and camouflaged devices, as several accidents have caused casualties among workers in the field of removal.
Al-Humairi explained that the observatory, which he runs, documented the Houthi cultivation of plastic mines, a type that is difficult to detect and represents a great danger, as it can remain for many years underground without being exposed to rust or damage.
Official estimates obtained by the Yemeni Landmine Monitor indicate that the Houthis planted about one million mines, estimates based in part on the size of the armament of mines in the army’s warehouses before the coup in 2014, but the quantities are much more than that. According to the estimates of the same observatory; Most of the mines that are extracted are locally made and not from the mines purchased, which were in the armament of the Yemeni armed forces, and statistics and studies at the beginning of 2014, indicated, after years of strenuous efforts, that Yemen is about to be declared a mine-contamination zone ; However, the Houthis’ cultivation of mines during the war years returned Yemen to the list of the most contaminated countries.
During the truce period, the hostilities subsided in the country, and a number of displaced families tried to return to their homes, but mines remained a major obstacle to the possibility of return, especially after several victims fell while returning to their homes or farms.
The United Nations and the international community are again calling on organizations and official bodies to pressure the Houthis to stop planting more mines, hand over maps, and provide support and assistance to teams working in the field of clearance.
The Yemeni Landmine Monitor, via Asharq Al-Awsat, reiterated its call to the Office of the UN Envoy to set up a space for discussion during the truce period to develop appropriate treatments for the mine disaster to stop more casualties.
During her visit to the rehabilitation center and prosthetic limbs in the capital, Aden, and Al-Sabeen Hospital in the capital, Sana’a; UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hanan Suleiman appealed to all parties to protect children and civilians wherever they are, and to remove landmines and explosive remnants of war.
And last week, the director of the national program to deal with mines, Amin Al-Aqili, accused the Houthi militia of continuing to plant mines despite the declared truce under the auspices of the United Nations, stressing the presence of new numbers added to the numbers of mines planted before the truce, calling on the international community to pressure the militia to stop planting mines and hand over maps of fields The mines you planted previously.
While the torrents revealed many unknown minefields; It has moved mines to new areas, and according to Al-Aqili, the places where mines are spread are no longer limited or known, and they need great efforts, especially since most of them are foreign or suspicious objects.