Riyadh- The Yemeni government accused on Saturday Houthi and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh militias of recruiting 10,000 child soldiers in a blatant violation of human rights.
Undersecretary of the Yemeni Human Rights Ministry Nabil Abdel Hafiz told Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone interview from Aden that the ministry had estimated the number of child soldiers recruited by rebel militias at about 10,000.
“Those rebel forces deal with children by the concept of gangs and armed groups,” Abdel Hafiz said.
The minister said that the numbers discovered by the Yemeni government apparatus were quickly expanding and that those numbers only reveal a small part of the rebels’ inhuman practices. “The rebel forces are conducting some practices, which are very difficult to track, particularly in the rebel-controlled areas,” Abdel Hafiz said.
The ministry also tracked rebel forces while planning harassments in the simplest areas of social life.
The Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations issued a report detailing the missions of the recruited children, who are tasked to fight, monitor baggage, alternate on checkpoints, and distribute food, drinks and ammunitions to fighters combatting on the frontlines across the Yemeni directorates.
The report also documented that child soldiers were recruited for inhuman purposes, by force or under economic pressures exerted on their families.
“Some families accept that their children be recruited as child soldiers due to poverty and the urgent need for food. Those cases are mainly witnessed among refugees, who are promised by Houthi leaders that their children would not be sent to the frontline battles, but will only work as security guards,” the report said.
It added that Houthi militias had also sent those children to military training camps located in several Yemeni directorates, including Sana’a and Omran. Those children would then be taken to fight on the frontlines.
The Yemeni Army also found several with the children guidelines including misleading statements that promoted terrorist and taqfiri ideas, in addition to photos of former founder of the Iranian Revolution Khomeini and Secretary General of the Lebanese terrorist so-called Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah.