middle east

Head of Project Masam: ‘There is a long way to reach a mine-free Yemen’

The head of Saudi Arabia’s Project Masam said there is still a long way to go despite the project having cleared more than 450,000 landmines and explosive remnants of war in Yemen.

“There is still a long way to go to reach a mine-free Yemen”, the project’s managing director, Ousama Al-Gosaibi, said in a statement.

Since at least 2015, Houthi militias have planted landmines — conventional and improvised — in “quantities and sophistication that far exceeds reasonable limits,” Al-Gosaibi said

Masam is a humanitarian land mine clearance project in Yemen launched by Saudi Arabia in 2018. Since launching, Masam teams have cleared more than 450,000 explosive items, the statement said.

Al-Gosaibi said the project continues to perform its work in “exceptional circumstances in every sense of the word, most notably that the military operations and mine-laying operations have not stopped yet.”

He also noted how difficult the work is because of the lack of minefield maps and “the difficulty of the terrain” in which minefields are located or suspected to be located.

Houthi militias continue to advance and evolve the manufacture and planting of these landmines across Yemeni land, he claimed.

Given the difficult circumstances, Al-Gosaibi praised the Yemeni people’s cooperation with the project’s de-mining teams, who in part rely on civilian reports of suspected minefields to carry out their operations.

In that regard, the managing director highlighted the success of awareness-raising campaigns — known as explosive ordnance risk education — aimed at educating the public about the dangers of mines and how to behave should they suspect the presence of landmines or explosive devices.

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