Yemen army removes 300,000 Houthi landmines in liberated areas

A Yemeni government soldier stands on a truck transporting land mines left by the Houthi rebels in al-Jadaan area, in the country's central province of Marib, December 21, 2015.(Reuters)
Updated 24 April 2018
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Yemen army removes 300,000 Houthi landmines in liberated areas

  • According to army officials in Yemen, the country has been subjected to the “largest mine-laying operation since the end of the Second World War”
  • International human rights groups have previously condemned Iran-backed Houthi militias for their use of the banned antipersonnel landmines in Yemen that have caused numerous civilian casualties

Yemen’s national army has seized 300,000 mines planted by Houthi militia in liberated areas, it was announced on Monday.

“In the past two years, the National Army has managed to extract 300,000 mines planted by the Houthi militia in liberated areas, including 40,000 mines on the outskirts of Marib province,” a statement on the army’s website read.

According to army officials in Yemen, the country has been subjected to the “largest mine-laying operation since the end of the Second World War.”

That statement added that the total number of mines laid by the militia exceeds half a million mines, and that this “huge amount continues to pose a sustainable threat to the lives of civilians.”

International human rights groups have previously condemned Iran-backed Houthi militias for their use of the banned antipersonnel landmines in Yemen that have caused numerous civilian casualties and hindered the safe return of people to displaced by fighting.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Houthis last year to “immediately cease using these weapons and observe the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which Yemen ratified in 1998.”

According to the group, landmines have been used in at least six governorates since the Saudi-led Arab coalition began military operations in support of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in March 2015.

HRW said Mines have killed and maimed hundreds of civilians and disrupted civilian life in affected areas.


Spanish PM visits Morocco to boost migration cooperation

Updated 19 November 2018
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Spanish PM visits Morocco to boost migration cooperation

  • Spain has this year become the main entry point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the majority departing from Morocco

RABAT: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday made his first official visit to Morocco, where he pushed for greater cooperation between the two countries on tackling migration.
Spain has this year become the main entry point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the majority departing from Morocco.
“Migration is a shared responsibility and we must reinforce our cooperation in this area,” Sanchez said following talks with his Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine el Othmani.
More than 50,000 migrants have crossed into Spain so far this year, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Madrid has for months been pressing the European Union to unlock funds for Morocco to better tackle people smuggling into the bloc.
Throughout the year, numerous Spanish ministers and officials have traveled to Rabat to discuss security issues and migration.
Sanchez was accompanied by a government delegation for his first visit to the North African nation since taking office in June.
Othmani said Morocco was doing “all that is in its power regarding the fight against illegal immigration.”
Moroccan authorities say that between January and the end of September they stopped some 68,000 illegal attempts to cross into Europe and dismantled 122 people smuggling gangs.
“The migration question is complex and it cannot be resolved solely through a security approach, despite its importance, it’s necessary to favor the development of departure countries in Africa,” said Othmani.
Many seeking to reach Europe are from sub-Saharan Africa, but in recent years there has been an increasing number of Moroccans seeking to leave the country.
While the majority of migrants have taken the perilous sea journey in rubber dinghies, others have scaled fences into the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla which border Morocco.