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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s plan to clear mines in Yemen has cleared 826 mines planted by Iran-backed Houthi militias in the third week of December.

Under the supervision of Saudi aid agency KSrelief, the project’s special teams destroyed 681 unexploded ordnance, 116 anti-tank mines, nine anti-personnel mines and 20 other explosive devices.

The explosives planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen pose a significant threat to the lives of innocent people, including children, women and the elderly.

The Masam project is one of many initiatives undertaken by Saudi Arabia at the behest of King Salman to help the people of Yemen.

Demining operations took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sana’a, Al-Baida, Al-Dale and Saada.

A total of 426,090 mines have been cleared since the start of 2018, according to Ousama Algosaibi, the executive director of the project.

This includes 269,250 unexploded ordnance, 142,455 anti-tank mines, 7,943 improvised explosive devices and 6,442 anti-personnel traps.

The project trains local demining engineers and equips them with modern equipment. It also provides support to Yemenis injured by the devices.

An estimated 5 million people have been forced from their homes since the start of the conflict in Yemen, many of them displaced by landmines.

Masam teams are working to clear the areas as an immediate humanitarian priority. They clean up areas such as villages, roads and schools to facilitate safe movement of civilians and delivery of humanitarian goods and services.

The project’s contract was extended for another year in June at a cost of $33.29 million.

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