Brigadier General Amin Al-Aqili, Director of the National Mine Action Program in Yemen (YEMAC), said that mines have spread widely and widely in Yemen since the Houthi militias began to expand and expand in the governorates of the Republic, starting from Saada Governorate up to Amran to Sana’a and then extending to Taiz.Aden, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhalea, Al-Hudaydah, Abyan, Al-Jawf, Hajjah, and even Dhamar, Ibb and Raymah.
Al-Aqili added, in a recorded interview with the media team of the “Masam” project, that Houthi mines caused many casualties among civilians, who were the first victims in this crisis.
Al-Aqili explained in this interview that it is a serious disaster caused by mines in terms of depriving civilians and farmers of reclaiming their lands that they depend on, especially since the vast majority of the people of Yemen depend on agriculture and fishing as their source of income of revenues. He pointed out that even the seas are not spared from those mines deployed by the militias. Houthi.
In the same context, Amin Al-Uqaili stated that there are recorded and proven statistics that documented more than 10,000 victims of mines, indicating that the real number of those injured by these lethal canisters is much greater than what has been documented, and that this number includes only those that could be reached. And record them.
Al-Aqili also said: “The National Mine Action Program and the Saudi Arabian project “Masam”, which has spared no effort since it started its work with us on the ground from mid-2018 to the present, have recorded mine casualties from the areas that we could reach.”
He also added in detail: “There are parties that have registered many victims, but we rely on our reliable sources, and I repeat that the number of my victims is much greater than the recorded numbers… So the mines have caused a great humanitarian disaster. for civilians, and unfortunately they were the biggest victim among the Yemeni people.”
Amin Al-Uqaili said in another context that mines have led to farmers being deprived of their farms, because mines have polluted all the areas reached by the Houthis, and cities and villages have been deprived of doing business after the streets and shops were naively trapped. Mines also reached Aden Airport and Hodeidah Airport.
Al-Aqili also explained that mines were also planted in schools, universities, institutes, roads and in many places, and unfortunately they killed those who were powerless and sought knowledge, because the Houthi militias excelled in camouflage, concealment and deception of civilians and planted. explosive devices on them, which caused great harm to civilians.
Amin Al-Uqaili said: “The mines blocked the main roads used to bring supplies and food and even the return of the displaced, and if it were not for the Saudi Arabian project “Masam” and the National Mine Action Program, which had an emergency – a plan whose priorities were about opening the roads and bringing back the displaced people who lost their homes. And their lands, and cleaning up many villas, schools and civilian homes that were contaminated by war remnants and mines, as if the situation were extremely catastrophic.
Amin Al-Uqaili said that the support of the United Nations to us is limited in this regard, but it was not without operations to stop support and cut off fees in an unjustified, inhumane or legal way. For example, the UNDP, which is affiliated with the United Nations, unfortunately reduced the support that reached us since the year. And half a year, despite the fact that the support was originally low since its inception until we reached the point in the year 2022 AD that we reduced the number of teams that joined the national program, and we stopped a number of teams working in proketing, clearing, cleaning and raising awareness of the dangers of mines due to the decrease in support, until the situation reached half. The first of the current year, 2023; , was to stop support by 50%, and since July of the current year, the support has been completely stopped, which forced us to stop the center and its departments, except for those who work in the emergency with very simple efforts.
Al-Aqili added, “The situation with the United Nations has now become very dire, and unfortunately stopping funding was not justified and we were not convinced by what they told us about the decline in donor support, but I believe there is political aspects, some of which are not apparent to us, but we discovered that through our conversation with them.” Unfortunately, there is something like a blackmail operation in this aspect, but we will continue and we will continue to work, as it is, first and last, our country, our people, and our people, and we cannot abandon our humanitarian mission in the process of expropriation and cleanup. In return, we offer our thanks and appreciation to the Saudi Arabian program “Masam,” which has not stopped for a single day during the entire period. 5 years since we started working with them in true partnership, even during the spread of the corona epidemic, all essential, civil and military facilities were affected as a result of the pandemic that affected the whole world, and we are part of the world, but the Saudi Arabian project took all preventive measures and did not stop for a single day, and its teams continued to work, and we were able to achieve achievements. We save civilian lives, which is the ultimate goal of the “Masam” project.
Al-Uqaili also called, saying: “We call on the international community, organizations and brothers at the forefront and our people in the Arab countries, first and foremost the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to support us in the light of these difficult circumstances, which the country is going through in relation to works related to demining, so that the work of the teams affiliated to the National Program for Demining does not stop.” Definitely mines, because stopping one or more teams means an increase in the number of victims. , and failure to work on this aspect causes us a greater humanitarian disaster among civilians, who are the ultimate goal for their safety and security and the return of the displaced to areas that have become safe.”
He also explained, “We are still in the process of discussion with UNDP of the United Nations, but we have not seen any possibility of hope or transparency in this aspect, and I am talking about their previous support for us, because there was no transparency with us. There was no transparency in the support process. How? How much of it was spent and the plan for the next year, although we presented a plan in this regard and it was approved in the Geneva Center during the conference, but unfortunately. transparency and support were absent until unknown time, and we cannot determine when it will return and whether there will be transparency or whether the situation will remain as before. On the other hand, we are very grateful to all the donors who supported Yemen in this aspect, but our reproach is limited to the United Nations “UNDP”, which was not transparent with us during the emergency response plan from 2016 AD to the present.
Amin Al-Uqaili also said, “We rely on the Saudi Arabian project “Masam” 100% in the emergency response process, and we receive emergency reports from citizens, both in the National Mine Action Program and the operation center in “Masam” , indicating the appearance of mines in new places that were not known to us and causing… Disasters, and the teams are immediately moved on the same day to the priority places that have become dangerous. We now trust, after our center in the national program has stopped working, with the exception of the emergency teams, who are working with the simplest efforts and without any insurance, on the Masam project completely in our current circumstance, and we provide He and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have done their wonderful efforts, and we can only express our thanks and gratitude. Masam is present with us on the ground and has brought trainers, advanced frames and modern equipment, which makes it easier for us to work on site and has proven its effectiveness in the field.”