Houthi Rebels Launch Intense Recruiting Efforts Among Yemeni Refugees

Published July 22nd, 2018 - 10:13 GMT
Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen (Twitter)
Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen (Twitter)

The Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen recently launched intense efforts among refugees in an attempt to recruit them, informed Yemeni sources in the northwestern Hajjah province said.

The militias are luring the refugees to join their ranks in exchange for receiving international humanitarian aid.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the militant governor of Hajjah Hilal al-Soufi gathered hundreds of refugees in the Hard directorate where they forced their sons to head to the battlefield in return for receiving food relief sent by international organizations.

Similar gatherings were staged in the Abs region in violation of international and humanitarian laws that bar the exploitation of war refugees and forced recruitment.

The Houthis have heavily looted the humanitarian aid that has been sent to Hajjah. The relief is seized and sold in the market or used to lure refugees to join their ranks.

Such practices have also been reported in Sanaa, Taiz and Dhamar.


The militias have also prevented hundreds of refugee families from heading to Aden and other regions that are controlled by the legitimate forces. They instead forced the families to turn back and return to areas under their control, such as Sanaa, Ibb and Dhamar.

Rights activists told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Houthis arrested over the past two days more than a hundred civilians, travelers and activists in Sanaa, Dhamar and al-Baydha. They have been falsely charged with helping the legitimate government and Saudi-led Arab coalition.

Meanwhile, the Houthis have continued their wave of arbitrary arrests targeting the people and activists, as well as their confiscation of government property for their war effort.

Social media activists circulated a document that shows orders from the Houthi Sanaa governor in which he calls for using public property for militia purposes.

The militias have throughout the past three years seized government property in Sanaa, Hodeidah and Dhamar and handed them to their followers and commanders arriving from Saada and Amran. Civilian property has also been seized by the militias by force.

The militias have coupled these practices with the construction of residential buildings and luxury villas in Sanaa as several of its followers moved from Saada and Amran to the Houthi-held Yemeni capital. This has been interpreted by observers as an attempt to create demographic change in Sanaa.

Given these violations, observers have expressed doubt over the possibility that a peaceful resolution could be reached with the Houthis in Yemen. They have also cited its patchy history of negotiations with the legitimate forces and previous governments, noting that they do not respect any of their vows.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

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