Large Houthi landmine fields threaten lives of Yemenis: Report

Lives of thousands of Yemeni people living in various areas affected by the ongoing military conflict are still threatened by the presence of large Houthi fields of landmines and explosive remnants.
In the country's turbulent northern province of al-Jawf, explosive hazards affected large residential areas as several months of intense fighting is still taking place between the Yemeni government forces and the Houthi rebels there.
Local Yemeni official said that the existence of explosives and landmines prevent the delivery of humanitarian aids and hinder the safe movement of people living in many conflict-affected areas in northern Yemen.
Local residents including women and children frequently die of landmine explosions in al-Jawf and various other regions of the war-torn Arab country.
On Sunday, a local government official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that a landmine exploded, killing a citizen while he was collecting firewood to support his family living in al-Jawf's western part.
The local Yemeni authorities confirmed that the strategic province sharing borders with Saudi Arabia is facing a catastrophic situation due to mines.
Abdul Hadi Al-Assar, director of the Human Rights Office in al-Jawf, told Xinhua that the whole province is badly affected as a result of the Houthi continuation in planting landmines in different areas of the province.
"The Houthis not only planted mines near military areas, but also intentionally trapped roads, government buildings, schools, and agricultural farms," said Al-Assar.
He indicated that "almost daily civilian casualties are recorded ... nearly 190 civilians died, 385 cases of injuries, including maiming and permanent disabilities due to incidents of landmines occurred during the past four years in al-Jawf."
Local human rights official urged the concerned international organizations to contribute to clearing contaminated areas of landmines and pressuring the Houthis to immediately stop planting more.
Mabkhout Athban, a Yemeni local observer, said that great damage was caused to vast agricultural areas and left many farms abandoned in al-Jawf.
Landmines hindered the farmer's movement and deprived them of using their agricultural lands, as well as damaged dozens of vehicles and agricultural equipment, according to the observer.
Last week, the Saudi landmine clearance project MASAM said in a statement that its engineering teams cleared 1,385 mines, unexploded ordnance and explosive devices in various war-ravaged Yemeni areas, bringing the total of what the team's experts cleansed from October to the end of this month to 6,114.
Previous reports of humanitarian organizations suggested that Yemen has become one of the largest landmine battlefields in the world since the World War II.