Yemen govt to pay civil servants in militia-held Hodeidah

Time: December 28, 2018

People driving in a market in the Yemeni flashpoint city of Hodeidah. (File/AFP)
  • For more than two years, the government has been unable to pay salaries and the riyal dropped sharply against the dollar, leaving Yemenis unable to afford food and water
  • Earlier this month, deputy central bank chief Shokeib Hobeishy said that Yemen’s central bank was expecting a $3 billion cash injection from Gulf allies

HODEIDAH: The United Nations on Friday welcomed a decision by Yemen’s government to pay the salaries of civil servants in the militia-held city of Hodeidah starting this month.

For more than two years, the government has been unable to pay salaries and the riyal dropped sharply against the dollar, leaving Yemenis unable to afford food and water.

“President (Abedrabbo Mansour) Hadi’s decision is an important step towards improving the economic situation, and alleviating the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people,” the office of the UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths tweeted.

“The (special envoy) hopes there will be more steps in this direction.”

On Thursday, Hadi instructed the government to “urgently work on paying the salaries of all civil servants in Hodeidah province starting from December”, Saba state news agency reported.

Earlier this month, deputy central bank chief Shokeib Hobeishy said that Yemen’s central bank was expecting a $3 billion cash injection from Gulf allies.

His statement came after a $2.2 billion infusion by Saudi Arabia to stem a slide in the Yemeni riyal.

More than one million civil servants lost their jobs in 2016, when Hadi moved the central bank from the militia-held capital Sanaa to Aden, controlled by the government.

A ceasefire — agreed at peace talks in Sweden earlier this month — went into effect in Hodeidah city and its surroundings on December 18 but has remained shaky with the warring sides accusing each other of violations.

An AFP correspondent said on Friday gunfire was heard overnight in the south of the Red Sea city, whose port serves as an entry point for the majority of imports and humanitarian aid to the war-torn country.

“We heard the sounds of jets in the early hours of the morning for a brief 15 minutes, but it has been complete calm since then,” the correspondent said, adding that the situation on the ground remains “tense”.

The conflict between the Iran-aligned Houthi militia and troops loyal to Hadi escalated in 2015, when he fled into Saudi exile and a Saudi-led military coalition intervened.

Since then, the war has killed some 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, although human rights groups say the real death toll could be five times as high.

The conflict has unleashed a major humanitarian crisis and pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine.

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Saudi project removes 26,609 land mines in Yemen

Time: December 23, 2018

Members of a Yemeni military demining unit prepare to destroy unexploded bombs and mines collected from conflict areas near the southern port city of Aden, Yemen. (REUTERS)
  • In Yemen, KSRelief distributed 37 tons of food to about 3,000 displaced people in the villages of Al-Jouf governorate

JEDDAH: The Saudi Project for Landmines Clearance in Yemen launched by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), removed 64 anti-personnel mines, 1,430 anti-vehicle mines, 85 explosive devices and 955 unexploded ordnance during the second week of December.

The mines were planted by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. In the last week of November, members of the project managed to dismantle some 1,462 land mines to reach 6,677 mines planted by the Houthi militia in schools and residential areas throughout the month.
The militia has attempted to hide the land mines via several methods, which has led to the death or severe injury of children, women and elderly men.
Since the beginning of the project, 26,609 mines have been removed.

Food aid
KSRelief dispatched 6,300 cartons of dates to Marib governorate on Saturday and also distributed 1,836 cartons of dates and 700 food baskets among the needy people in Lahj governorate.

Medical relief
KSRelief has provided treatment for more than 21,000 injured Yemenis, both inside and outside Yemen.

A total of 6,452 Yemenis received treatment in private sector hospitals in Yemen, while 1,000 received treatment in Yemeni medical centers specializing in eye injuries.
In addition, 12,795 cases were transferred to Saudi Arabia, 534 to Jordan, 280 to Sudan and one to India.
The injured Yemenis expressed appreciation to KSRelief for its efforts to treat them.
KSRelief provides health services to all Yemeni people in coordination with the Yemeni Higher Relief Committee represented by the Yemeni Ministry of Health and Population, and local and international partners.
Child soldiers
KSRelief aims to help at least 2,000 former child soldiers, along with children who have lost a parent or were seriously injured by land mines, to reintegrate successfully into their families, schools and communities.

Operations
Dr. Aqeel Al-Ghamdi, the assistant general supervisor of KSRelief, has highlighted Saudi Arabia’s pioneering role in humanitarian and relief operations.
He was speaking at a meeting in New York of the Senior Donors Group to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, during which a number of humanitarian crises and OCHA’s field operations were reviewed.
KSRelief said more than 14,000 Syrians in the north of the war-torn country had benefited from projects to supply direct support, heating fuel and cooking gas during the first half of December. Through such projects, funded by the Kingdom, the center seeks to help Syrians recover from the war.
In Yemen, KSRelief distributed 37 tons of food to about 3,000 displaced people in the villages of Al-Jouf governorate on Thursday. The center distributed a further 102,170 food baskets to people in nine other Yemeni governorates. To date, Saudi Arabia has implemented 302 humanitarian projects to help the Yemeni people.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor general of KSRelief, on Wednesday chaired a meeting during which a GCC Relief and Humanitarian Aid Coordination Office for Yemen was launched to make it easier for Gulf nations to coordinate relief projects in the country.

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Shocking: 18,000 children, many as young as 10, kill and die for Houthi militias

Time: December 19, 2018  

Top Houthi officials heap praise on young soldiers who have died in a conflict they describe as a sacred war against America, Israel and other outside powers (AFP)

The number etched on the bracelet around Mohammed’s wrist gave the 13-year-old soldier comfort as missiles fired from enemy warplanes shook the earth beneath him.

For two years, Mohammed fought with Yemen’s Houthi rebels. He says he tortured and killed people and didn’t care whether he lived or died. But if he died, the bracelet would guarantee his body made it home.

“When I become a martyr, they enter my number in the computer, retrieve my picture and my name, then print them with the name ‘Martyr’ underneath,” Mohammed said. It would be pasted to the lid of his coffin for return to his family.

Mohammed was among 18 former child soldiers interviewed by The Associated Press who described the Houthis’ unrelenting efficiency when it comes to the recruitment, deployment and even battlefield deaths of boys as young as 10.

While both sides in the four-year civil war have sent children into combat in violation of international human rights conventions, the Houthis are believed to have recruited many more than the coalition – often forcibly.

The Houthis have inducted 18,000 child soldiers into their rebel army since the beginning of the war in 2014, a senior Houthi military official acknowledged to the AP. He spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information.

That figure is higher than any number previously reported. The United Nations was able to verify 2,721 children recruited to fight for all sides in the conflict, the large majority for the Houthis, but officials say that count is likely low, because many families will not speak about the issue out of fear of reprisals from Houthi militiamen.

The Houthis say officially that they don’t recruit children and send away those who try to enlist.

Some of the children told the AP they joined the rebels willingly, mainly because of promises of money or the chance to carry a weapon. But others described being forced into the service of the Houthis – abducted from schools or homes or coerced into joining in exchange for a family member’s release from detention.

Many can be seen manning checkpoints along main roads across northern and western Yemen, AK-47s dangling from their narrow shoulders. Others are sent to the front lines as foot soldiers.

A 13-year-old named Riyadh said half of the fighters he served with on the front lines in Yemen’s mountainous Sirwah district were children. Rebel officers ordered them to push forward during battles, even as coalition jets zoomed overhead, he said.
He said he pleaded with his commander to let the young fighters take cover during airstrikes: “Sir, the planes are bombing.”

The reply, he said, was always: “Followers of God, you must attack!”

An unknown number of child soldiers have been sent home in coffins.

More than 6,000 children have died or been maimed in Yemen since the beginning of the war, UNICEF reported in October.
A former teacher from the city of Dhamar said that at least 14 pupils from his school were recruited and then died in battle.

Their pictures were placed on empty classroom seats in 2016 during the Week of the Martyr, which the Houthis celebrate each year in February. Most of them were fifth and sixth graders, he said. An education official from Dhamar confirmed his account. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of retribution.

The teacher said some of the dead children’s parents were Houthi leaders who willingly sent their sons to the front lines. “It’s painful because this is a child and they are all my children because I was their teacher,” he said. “They were taken from the school and returned in coffins.”

Naguib al-Saadi, a Yemeni human rights activist who founded a Saudi-funded counseling center in Marib for child warriors, said “the real problem with Houthi recruitment of the children will be felt in 10 years – when a generation that has been brainwashed with hatred and enmity toward the West comes of age.”

Top Houthi officials heap praise on young soldiers who have died in a conflict they describe as a sacred war against America, Israel and other outside powers they believe are trying to take over the country.

Under the Houthi-controlled Defense Ministry, the rebels have pursued what they call a “national voluntary recruitment campaign.” Brig. Gen. Yahia Sarie, a spokesman for the Houthis’ armed forces, told the AP “there is no general policy to use the children in the battles,” but he acknowledged that some young people do volunteer to join the fight.

Children, parents, educators, social workers and other Yemenis interviewed by the AP described an aggressive campaign that targets children – and is not always completely voluntary. Houthi officials use their access to the Civil Registry Authority and other state records to gather data that allows them to narrow down their target list of the neediest families in villages and displacement camps – the ones most likely to accept offers of cash in return for recruits.

In Sanaa, the Yemeni capital under Houthi control, recruiters go door to door telling parents they must either turn over their sons or pay money for the war effort, according to residents.

The AP interviewed the 18 former child soldiers at displacement camps and a counseling center in the city of Marib, which is controlled by the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition. They had come to Marib after slipping away from rebel forces or being captured by coalition units.

Because of their ages and because some of them acknowledge committing acts of brutality, the AP is only using their first names. Some children gave themselves a nom du guerre after they joined the fighting. One 10-year-old boy, for example, called himself Abu Nasr, Arabic for “Father of Victory.”

A 13-year-old boy named Saleh told the AP that Houthi militiamen stormed his family’s home in the northern district of Bani Matar on a Saturday morning and demanded he and his father come with them to the front lines. He said his father told them, “Not me and my son” and then tried to pull his rifle on them. “They dragged him away,” the boy recalled. “I heard the bullets, then my father collapsing dead.”

Saleh said the militiamen took him with them and forced him to do sentry duty at a checkpoint 12 hours a day.

International relief agencies working on child protection programs in northern Yemen are not allowed to discuss the use of child soldiers, out of fear their agencies will be barred from delivering aid to Houthi-controlled territories, according to four aid workers who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “This is a taboo,” one said.

“They don’t raise the issue,” said Abdullah al-Hamadi, a former deputy education minister who defected earlier this year from the Houthi-controlled government in the north.

Al-Hamadi said that the children who are targeted for recruitment are not the sons of important Houthi families or top commanders. Instead, they are usually kids from poor tribes who are being used “as firewood for this war.”

In villages and small towns, recruiters include teenagers whose brothers or fathers already work for the Houthis. They can be seen hanging around schools, handing out chewing tobacco and trying to persuade the boys to become fighters.

Several residents of Sanaa told the AP that Houthis divide the capital into security blocs, each overseen by a supervisor who must meet rolling quotas for bringing in new recruits. He collects information on the families living in his bloc by knocking on the doors of each house and asking for the number of male members, their names and ages.

“It looks random from the outside, but in reality it’s not,” a Yemeni journalist who worked in Houthi territory said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the risks of talking about the rebels. “There are teams with specific missions and clear structure.”

He and his family fled to Marib, a coalition stronghold, because he feared that the rebels would try to recruit his children.

Houthi recruiters assure families their sons won’t be assigned to battle zones, but instead will be sent to work behind the lines at roadside checkpoints. Once militiamen get hold of the children, they often instead send them to indoctrination and training camps, and then the front lines, according to two children interviewed by the AP and officials from two child protection groups. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns that the Houthis might retaliate by blocking their groups from working in Yemen.

Children interviewed by the AP said they were targeted by recruiters on soccer pitches, farms and, especially, schools.
A 12-year-old named Kahlan said Houthi militiamen drove him and 10 of his classmates away in a pickup truck, telling them they were being taken to a place where they would get new school bags.

It was a lie.

Instead, still in their school uniforms, they found themselves inside a training camp getting instructions on how to hide from airstrikes.

‘KEY FOR HEAVEN’

New recruits are usually taken first to “culture centers” for religious courses lasting nearly a month. Instructors read aloud to the children from the lectures of the Houthi movement’s founder, Hussein Badr Eddin al-Houthi, the late brother of the current leader, Abdul-Malek al-Houthi.

The lectures, dating back to 2002, are circulated in audio and video and transcribed into booklets known as “Malazem.”

They are told they are joining a holy war against Jews and Christians and Arab countries that have succumbed to Western influence – and that if the boys die fighting, they will go to heaven. The instructors fuel the recruits’ anger with accounts of coalition attacks that have killed civilians, including an airstrike in August that hit a bus full of schoolchildren.

“When you get out of the culture center, you don’t want to go home anymore,” said Mohammed, the boy who served with the Houthis from ages 13 to 15. “You want to go to jihad.”

The recruits are then sent to military training camps in the mountains, according to several children who defected from the Houthis. By night, they sleep in tents or huts made of tree branches. By day, they learn how to fire weapons, plant explosives and avoid missiles fired by coalition jets.

From noon to sunset, the young soldiers get a daily share of the green leaves of qat, a mild stimulant that the vast majority of Yemenis chew every day. Coming from poor families, having qat is an incentive for the children, who might not be able to afford it at home.

After less than a month of boot camp, they are sent to war, wearing the bracelets that are supposed to ensure that, if they die, they are returned to their families and honored as martyrs.

The children call the inscription their “jihadi number.” Critics of the Houthis sardonically call the bracelets the children’s “key for heaven.”

Once in the battle zones, some children said, their weapons and their beliefs made them feel powerful. Others just felt frightened.

Mohammed fought in and around the city of Taiz, the scene of the war’s longest running battle.

One day, his comrades captured a coalition fighter and brought him to a bombed-out restaurant for interrogation. Mohammed, 14 at the time, said he fetched an electric generator and hooked it up to the prisoner. He sent electric shocks screaming through the man’s body, he said, as his commander questioned the captive about coalition forces’ positions.

When the questioning was over, he said, his commander gave this order: “Get rid of him.” Mohammed said he took a heavy metal tool, heated it in a flame, then swung it, caving in the back of the man’s head.

“He was my master,” Mohammed recalled. “If he says kill, I would kill…. I would blow myself up for him.”

Riyadh, the 13-year-old who fought in the Sirwah mountains, said he and his 11-year-old brother once shot and killed two enemy soldiers who had refused to lay down their weapons. But more often, he said, he closed his eyes tightly when he fired his rifle.

“Honestly, when I am afraid, I don’t know where I am shooting – sometimes in the air and sometimes just randomly,” he said.
The most frightening moment came when his brother disappeared during a firefight.

“I was crying,” Riyadh recalled. “I told the commander that my brother had been martyred.”

He began turning over corpses on the battlefield, searching bloodied faces for his lost brother when he and other fighters came under fire. They fired back. Then, after some yelling back and forth, he realized the shooter was not an enemy fighter but his brother, lost in the fog of battle.

A few weeks later, Riyadh and his brother escaped, paying a truck driver to smuggle them away from the Houthi forces.

Kahlan – the schoolboy who had been lured into combat with the promise of a new book bag – was first assigned to carry boxes of food and ammunition for soldiers. Then he was deployed to fight. He and the other boys had no clothes other than their school uniforms, he said. They were so filthy many sprouted skin rashes.

Coalition aircraft screeched overhead, dropping bombs and firing missiles at Houthi positions. Afterward, trucks rumbled in to collect the dead.

“The sight of the bodies was scary,” Kahlan recalled, using his hands to pantomime how corpses were missing heads or limbs or had their intestines oozing out.

He slipped away from the Houthi camp early one morning, running from one village to another. “I was afraid to look back. I saw trees and rocks and I got more scared because they used to hide behind the trees.”

‘LISTENING SESSIONS’

Mohammed, Riyadh and Kahlan all ended up in Marib, at a rehabilitation center for children who served as Houthi soldiers. Since September 2017, nearly 200 boys have come through the center, which was founded by the Wethaq Foundation for Civil Orientation and funded with Saudi money.

Mayoub al-Makhlafi, the center’s psychiatrist, said the common symptom among all the former child soldiers is extreme aggression. They suffer anxiety, panic attacks and attention deficits. Some describe being beaten by their own commanders, a staffer at the center said. She said she has also heard reports from children on both sides of the fighting about being sexually abused by officers. She spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of sexual abuse issues.

The center brings the children together for “listening sessions” that help them remember their lives before they were sent to war.

On his first day at the center, Mohammed said, he was terrified. He didn’t know what they would do to him there. “But then I saw the teachers and they gave me a room to stay in. I felt good after that.”

His mother lives in Taiz, in an area under Houthi control, so he can’t live with her. He has other relatives and moves from one house to another. Sometimes, he said, he sleeps in the street.

He no longer has the bracelet with the serial number that the Houthis gave him as part of their promise that he’d get a martyr’s funeral. When he defected, he said, his older brother sent him to be questioned by coalition authorities.

During the interrogation, a security officer took out a pair of scissors and cut the bracelet from Mohammed’s wrist.

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After receiving full treatment in Saudi Arabia, young girl flown back to Yemen

Time: December 19, 2018  

Rimi was in Riyadh receiving treatment, which was fully covered by Saudi Arabia through the King Salman Center Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center. (Supplied)

Yemeni girl, Bouthaini al-Rimi, has left the King Khalid International Airport on a private plane headed to Yemen on Wednesday along with her family after they expressed that they would like to return home.

Rimi was in Riyadh receiving treatment, which was fully covered by Saudi Arabia through the King Salman Center Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, which organized a specialized treatment program for her.

Rimi and her family’s return was done following the completion of all necessary processes including coordination with the legitimate government and expatriates affairs as well as the Yemeni embassy in Saudi Arabia.

The Yemeni government had requested that the Arab Coalition urgently transfer Rimi to Saudi Arabia to receive proper treatment after she had suffered injuries, where a specialized hospital in Riyadh took her in and provided her with full health care and rehabilitation treatments.

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World Food Programme, UNICEF laud Saudi Arabia’s work in Yemen

Time: November 22, 2018 

In this Feb. 3, 2018 file photo, relief workers unload aid carried into Yemen by the Saudi military in Marib, Yemen. (AP)
  • The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) praised the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief)

JEDDAH: The World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed the initiative “Imdaad” of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to bridge the humanitarian needs gap in Yemen and provide additional support amounting to $500 million.
According to the WFP, this funding will cover the shortfall in the current humanitarian response, while WFP is helping to increase its operations to deliver lifesaving food aid to 10 million to 12 million severely hungry people, including more than 2 million children.
The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) also praised the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) for the implementation of clean water and sanitation projects in Yemen. AN Jeddah
“Thanks to this support from Saudi Arabia, the organization has been able to provide emergency life-saving support for children in the health, food and sanitation sectors in Yemen,” UNICEF said in a statement on its website.

     

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Coalition spokesman confirms commitment to finding political solution to Yemen crisis

Time: November 20, 2018      

Al-Maliki said the Iranian-backed militia continues to commit violations and ignore international law. (SPA)
  • Al-Maliki said the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths had praised the coalition’s desire to reach an agreement in the conflict
  • Al-Maliki said the Iranian-backed militia continues to commit violations and ignore international law

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition backing the legitimate government in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels is committed to reaching a political solution to the conflict, its spokesman confirmed on Monday.

Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, in an address to the Security Council, had praised the coalition’s desire to reach an agreement in the conflict.

Al-Maliki explained that a meeting had been held by Yemen’s national economic committee, which included representatives from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK and the US.

During the meeting, several measures were taken to improve the Yemeni economy, Al-Maliki said. He also added that the coalition had facilitated a humanitarian plan for Yemen worth more than $1 billion with contributions from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.

Regarding Houthi actions in Yemen, Al-Maliki said the Iranian-backed militia continues to commit violations and ignore international law.

He said the Houthis had planted mines at a school as well as other areas in and around Hodeidah, and destroyed a mosque in the port city.

Al-Maliki also provided evidence that the Houthis replaced contents of World Food Program packages with TNT explosives.

He added that 200 mines planted by the Houthis had been deactivated in the province of Hajjah, reiterating that the group is still using civilians as human shields and recruiting them to join their ranks.

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Al-Jubeir: Saudi-led coalition ‘working with UN to end Yemen conflict’

Time: November 16, 2018   

The Houthis should engage in the political process and respond to the will of the international community to end the war and end the coup against the legitimate government, said Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister. (AFP)
  • Since day one, we said that the solution… is a political solution, says Saudi FM
  • Al-Jubeir: Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the conflict

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition is working with UN envoy Martin Griffith to reach a political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on UN Security Council resolution 2216, the Gulf Initiative and the outcomes of Yemeni national dialogue, the Saudi foreign minister said on Thursday.

“Since day one, we said that the solution… is a political solution, and the solution should lead to the restoration of legitimacy in Yemen,” said Adel Al-Jubeir.

“We support a peaceful solution in Yemen. We support the efforts of the UN envoy for the Yemeni cause,” he added.

“We are committed to providing all humanitarian support to our brothers there. We are also working on the post-war reconstruction of Yemen.” The Kingdom supports the envoy’s efforts to hold negotiations at the end of November, added Al-Jubeir.

Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the conflict, he said.

In contrast, Houthi militias are imposing restrictions on Yemeni cities and villages, leading to starvation, he added.

They are also seizing humanitarian aid and preventing Yemenis from getting cholera vaccinations, Al-Jubeir said.

The Houthis fire ballistic missiles indiscriminately at Saudi Arabia, use children as fighters and plant mines across Yemen, he added.

The Houthis should engage in the political process and respond to the will of the international community to end the war and end the coup against the legitimate government, he said.

Saudi Arabia did not want the conflict in Yemen; it was imposed on the Kingdom, Al-Jubeir added.

Saudi Arabia worked with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to develop the Gulf Initiative.

This led to a transition from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to the internationally recognized government headed by current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Kingdom also worked to develop Yemeni national dialogue that led to a Yemeni vision regarding the country’s future.

A new Yemeni constitution was about to be drafted when the Houthis seized much of the country, including the capital.

Yemen’s legitimate government requested support, and the Saudi-led coalition responded under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

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Top Houthi ‘minister’ flees Yemen, seeks refuge in Saudi Arabia

Time: November 11, 2018  

Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Houthi rebels on November 10, 2018. (AFP)

JEDDAH: The Houthi militia “information minister” has fled Yemen and sought refuge in Saudi Arabia, his counterpart in the Yemeni government said on Saturday.

Abdul-Salam Ali Gaber is the most senior member of the Houthi regime to defect since war broke out in 2014. He arrived in Saudi Arabia with his family after they fled Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, said Yemen’s Information Minister Moammer Al-Iryani.

 

Meanwhile, Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition took control of the main hospital in Hodeidah on Saturday as they continued the offensive to recapture the Red Sea port city from the Houthis.

Amnesty International had accused the Houthis of “deliberate militarization” of the hospital after they deployed snipers on its roof.

Fierce battles raged in the city’s east between the Houthis and government forces backed by airstrikes and helicopters. “The battles here are turning into street fighting,” a government official said.

The Saudi-led coalition said on Saturday it no longer required US inflight refueling for its warplanes in Yemen. “The Kingdom and the coalition have increased their capability to independently conduct inflight refueling,” the coalition said.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington supported the Saudi decision. “The US will also continue working with the coalition and Yemen to minimize civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country,” he said.

 

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IN PICTURES: Saudi Arabia announces Yemen’s Marib Airport project

Time: November 10, 2018        

The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen will be reconstructing Marib Airport. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohamed al-Jaber, who heads the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen, announced on Saturday the reconstruction of Marib Airport in the governorate which is located in central Yemen and east of the capital Sanaa.

In an exclusive iterview with Al Arabiya news channel, the Saudi Ambassador said this will create thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities for Yemeni people.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohamed al-Jaber during the interview with Al Arabiya news channel on Saturday. (Screen grab)

He said that the Marib Airport will cater to two million passengers per year and will be used internally and regionally. The Saudi ambassador said the airport project will provide 5000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs for the Yemenis.

Ambassador Mohamed al-Jaber said a US design firm which designed Chicago airport as well as Abha and Jazan airports in Saudi Arabia, is behind the design of Marib airport.

The ambassador said that this project will revive the region

He added that there are huge projects, including the King Salman Educational City, which will include the Faculty of Medicine and Education, and other agricultural projects.

The ambassador also revealed some other important development projects on the island of Socotra.

He said a number of hospitals are being built in Seiyun city in Hadhramaut region, while al-Jawf’s hospital project will open next week.

On the economic level, he said $200 mln were deposited in the Central Bank of Yemen.

Responding to a question regarding false allegations made against the Saudi-led coalition backing the legitimate government of Yemen, the Saudi ambassador said: “There are false allegations. Saudi Arabia supports Yemen, because they are brothers and a neighboring country,”

The ambassador said. “We have been in contact with the World Bank so that reconstruction will take place soon.”

The head of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen added in the interview that Marib airport project and many other projects will activate the investment and trade cycles.

As for why Marib was chosen for this project, the ambassador said the governorate of Marib is only 200 km from the capital Sanaa and can lead to the revival of the joining Yemeni regions of al-Jawf, Shabwah and Hadhramaut.

Model of Marib Airport project. (Supplied)

Also the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen, reconstructed the following projects: King Salman Educational and Medical City, Sayoun Hospital, al – Ghaydah Schools, al-Ghaideh Water Project, well drilling project, two power stations in Socotra, kidney center, petroleum derivatives project, residential complex project, border posts, national security and counterterrorism center.

Saudi Arabia has already provided $2 billion monetary aid to Yemen’s central bank to help the country’s currency, few months ago.

Saudi ambassador Mohamed al-Jaber with Yemeni officials inspecting the works. (Supplied)

Model of King Salman Hospital project. (Supplied)

Model of housing project. (Supplied)

School project launch. (Supplied)

Construction works underway by the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen. (Supplied)

Dental clinic. (Supplied)

Saudi and Yemeni officials inspecting the construction works. (Supplied)

Power station project for Yemen. (Supplied)

Saudi oil derivatives for Yemen. (Supplied)

Oil derivatives for the Yemeni people. (Supplied)

Irrigation projects in Yemen. (Supplied)

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Houthi militia hold 16 cargo ships in Yemeni ports

Time: November 04, 2018      

In this Sept. 29, 2018, file photo, a cargo ship is docked at the port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP)
  • The center added that there are 134 migrants and 293 sailors of Asian, European and African nationalities on the ships

JEDDAH: Sixteen ships carrying food and oil products are being held by Houthi militias in the Yemeni ports of Hodeidah and Salif, according to the Isnad Center for Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations in Yemen. Some of them have been held for more than a month, which might have damaged their cargo of wheat and flour, it added.
The center said that five ships carrying medicines, medical equipment, sugar and liquefied gas have been detained inside the port of Hodeidah, while eight ships carrying maize, soybeans, wheat, flour and liquefied gas are being held in the port’s Al-Mikhtaf area. A further three ships are detained inside the port of Salif, two of which were prevented from unloading their cargo of corn, wheat and soybeans.
The center added that there are 134 migrants and 293 sailors of Asian, European and African nationalities on the ships. The total tonnage of the captured vessels is 198,860.88 tons, and they are carrying 116,880 tons of wheat, corn, sugar and soybeans, 79,722 tons of medicine and medical equipment, and 119,022 tons of liquefied gas. The ships bear the flags of nine nations: Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Malta, Comoros, the Marshall Islands, Pelhams, Panama, Nigeria and Palau.

This article was first published in Arab News

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