Houthis marrying Yemeni underage girls by force: press

Iran-backed Houthi rebels brandish their weapons at a gathering in Sanaa in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 07 April 2017

Houthis marrying Yemeni underage girls by force: press

ADEN: The Yemeni government said people kidnapped and held at militants’ prisons number more than 14,000 since the militias started invading several provinces two years ago. Besides, young girls are being forced to marry leaders and soldiers of Houthi militants despite parents’ refusal, local Yemeni press reported recently.
Parents who object to the forced marriage of their daughters are threatened with death, imprisonment, torture and even displacement and confiscation of property, according to an SPA report.
Houthis have been attempting to impose a foreign agenda and beliefs on the Yemeni civilians living in Sanaa and in other areas under their control, according to the reports.
The “Houthi supervisors,” as residents in Ibb Province call them, turned to forced marriage after the Yemeni society proved reluctant to accept the militants’ foreign agenda and traditions. Yemeni tribes reject marriages unless they are based on their own customs and traditions.
Local media reported a man in Madaq village in Badan Province was about to have his house and land confiscated when he refused to give his 16-year-old girl in marriage to a Houthi leader.
In the town of Habish in the same province, one businessman was kidnapped and blackmailed into approving his daughter’s marriage to a Houthi supervisor in the area.
“Armed militants took him to force him to approve the marriage despite the girl’s young age and rejection of the marriage,” local people told the media.
In Al-Radhmah, east of Ibb Province, a girl was kidnapped by Houthis and forced to marry a Houthi leader at gunpoint.
Local sources in Ibb Province said more than 18 cases of forcible marriage are known to residents. The number could be in hundreds given the fact many parents are afraid of speaking out, they said.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Yemeni Human Rights Ministry showed that individuals that have been forcibly disappeared number nearly 3,000 people including Minister of Defense General Mahmoud Al-Subaihi and the senior member of the Al-Islah Party, Mohammad Qahtan. Senior Yemeni officials Nasir Mansour Hadi and Faisal Rajab who were included in the United Nations Security Council resolutions, also are missing. The statement said those kidnapped included many political, media and rights figures.
The statement also said the militias turned more than 400 government offices into prisons. An estimated 73 people died in these prisons as a result of torture.


Hundreds of Syrians exit Lebanese town over tensions: UN

Updated 53 min 22 sec ago

Hundreds of Syrians exit Lebanese town over tensions: UN

  • UNHCR spokesperson: ‘Collective punishment... for a whole community for an incident involving one individual is unacceptable’
  • Those who fled, said they were chased out of Bsharre, a Christian-majority town, after a Syrian was accused of shooting dead a Lebanese resident

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: At least 270 Syrian families have left a north Lebanon town, as hostility toward them mounted over a murder allegedly committed by a Syrian national, the UN refugee agency said Friday.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees condemned “collective reprisals against Syrians in the town,” of Bsharre, saying many of the families fled in fear without taking their belongings.
“Collective punishment... for a whole community for an incident involving one individual is unacceptable,” a UNHCR spokesperson said in a statement.
Many of those who fled the Christian-majority town said they were chased out by Bsharre residents after a Syrian on Monday was accused of shooting dead a Lebanese resident, sparking widespread tension and hostility.
Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported forced evictions of Syrians in the wake of the murder, but Bsharre’s mayor denied that the Syrians had left out of fear.
An AFP correspondent in Tripoli saw dozens of Syrian families gathering outside a UNHCR building in the northern city.
A group of young men in Bsharre “assaulted us, threatened us and started a fire” in the house, Umm Khaled, a 31-year-old Syrian mother of five told AFP.
“We picked up our children and ran away to Tripoli,” located more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) east, she said.
Yassin Hassan, a 30-year-old Syrian who had lived in Bsharre for years, said he was beaten by a group of men.
“We ran away... without taking anything from our homes,” he told AFP.
Tripoli is among the most welcoming destinations in Lebanon for refugees.
Lebanon, which is grappling with an economic crisis, says it hosts some 1.5 million Syrians, including around one million registered as refugees with the United Nations.
UNHCR said it received “a large number of refugees from Bsharre” in its Tripoli reception center.
They were encouraged to find alternative housing but those with nowhere to stay were moved to shelters, a spokesperson told AFP.
The reasons behind the murder that fueled anti-Syrian sentiments in Bsharre remains shrouded in mystery.
The Syrian suspect in question has handed himself over to authorities, the army said.
A judicial source said investigations were still underway.
The mayor of Bsharre says the town is home to nearly a thousand Syrians.
Authorities have called on refugees to return to Syria even though rights groups warn that the war-torn country is not yet safe.