Five experts killed clearing Houthi landmines for Saudi charity in Yemen

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The men died when an explosion took place in a vehicle carrying recovered landmines. (Masam Project)
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The landmines were being taken early on Sunday to be destroyed in Marib. (Masam Project)
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The Masam Project has removed more than 40,000 landmines in Yemen. (Masam Project)
Updated 22 January 2019

Five experts killed clearing Houthi landmines for Saudi charity in Yemen

  • The two South Africans, a Croatian, a Bosnian and a Kosovar were killed in Marib province
  • Yemen government condemns Houthis for planting thousands of landmines

RIYADH: A team of explosive safety experts in Yemen have been killed by a consignment of Houthi land mines that blew up while they were being transported to be destroyed.
The five technicians — two from South Africa, one from Croatia, one from Bosnia and one from Kosovo — were part of the Saudi de-mining program in Yemen, known as Masam Project. Its aim is to locate and destroy explosive devices illegally planted by Iranian-backed Houthi militias.
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) said on Monday that the five experts had died in the explosion in Marib governorate early on Sunday. A vehicle carrying mines and other devices exploded while en route from Masam Project’s headquarters to a remote location, where they were to be destroyed.

“KSRelief joins with the rest of the international community in mourning the loss of these highly committed professionals, and expresses its deepest condolences to their families,” the center said.
“These brave members of the Masam team lost their lives while attempting to bring safety and security to the Yemeni people, and their service to mankind will not be forgotten.
“A full investigation into the tragic incident has been launched in coordination with Masam Project experts and local authorities.”

Ousama Algosaibi, the managing director of Masam Project, wrote heartfelt tributes to his collagues on Twitter.

The Houthis have planted more than a million land mines in Yemen, in violation of UN rules. They have caused more than 1,539 deaths, injured more than 3,000 and caused permanent disability to more than 900 Yemenis.
“These five people were doing noble work,” Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar in Riyadh, told Arab News. 
“They were trying to save the lives of Yemeni people, as opposed to the Houthis, whose only aim is to cause chaos and mayhem.”
Al-Shehri said Saudi Arabia had constantly reminded the world community of the atrocities being committed by the Houthis against the Yemeni people. 
“Saudi Arabia cares for the people of Yemen. It went into Yemen to save the Yemeni people from the Houthis who held them hostage,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia continues to provide humanitarian relief despite the Houthis creating all sorts of obstacles and trying to keep the relief away from the needy civilians of Yemen.”
For Saudi Arabia, the people of Yemen came first, Al-Shehri said. “Saudi Arabia went into Yemen as part of an Arab coalition to rescue the Yemeni people from the clutches of their abductors — the Houthis. It is the people of Yemen who are suffering because of the arms and ammunition and these deadly land mines that have been supplied by Iran. They have no care for human life.”

On Monday, UN envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in the capital, Sanaa, on an unannounced visit to discuss the “complex situation” in and around the coastal city of Hodeidah,

Yemen’s warring parties agreed to a cease-fire in the port last month.

Also under discussion from Monday will be disagreements between the Houthi militia, who hold Hodeidah, and Retired Dutch Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, who is heading a UN mission charged with monitoring the cease-fire.

The Yemeni military and the Arab Coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia, has accused the Houthis of hundreds of violations of the agreement, which have killed almost 50 civilians and wounded hundreds more. 

Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

Updated 17 July 2019

Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

  • The constitutional declaration is expected to be signed on Friday
  • The deal aims to help the political transition in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling military council and an opposition alliance signed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the country nation to democracy.
The agreement was signed in Khartoum in the presence of African mediators following a night of talks to iron out some details of the agreement reached earlier this month.
The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition in Sudan after military leaders ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in April following weeks of protests against him.
“We want a stable homeland, because we have suffered a great deal,” Ibrahim Al-Amin, a leader in the opposition Forces of Freedom and Change coalition, said after the ceremony.
Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir said Sudan needed to overcome poverty and called for the country to be taken of a US list of states that support terrorism.
The sides are still working on a constitutional declaration, which is expected to be signed on Friday.