Human Rights Watch has accused Yemeni militias loyal to ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthi rebels of planting illegal landmines in the country. The group said that the landmines had killed “hundreds” of civilians.
Abdo al-Ashwal, a deminer from Aden interviewed by Human Rights Watch, stepped on a mine while working. “I only lost my leg. Other people lost their legs completely, or were mutilated.”
You can watch the interview with al-Ashwal and other survivors below:
In a response to Human Rights Watch, the Houthi authorities denied that they had used mines, blaming instead “armed factions and terrorist groups” for the incidents. Although Human Rights Watch said that they had documented Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula using landmines as well, they had also been used in provinces where the group was not present.
“The Houthi-Saleh authorities should take immediate steps to ensure that affiliated forces cease using antipersonnel mines, destroy any antipersonnel mines they possess, and appropriately punish those using these indiscriminate weapons,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
Houthi rebels ousted the Yemeni government after taking over the capital, Sanna, in 2014. The war intensified when a Saudi Arabian-led coalition started bombing the country in March 2015. The coalition has been accused by human rights groups of killing thousands of civilians in airstrikes.
The Houthis and allied forces have also been accused of indiscriminate shelling of civilians, recruiting child soldiers and arbitrarily arresting political opponents.
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