Efforts to clear booby-trapped landmines continue in Shabwah Province, says YEMAC

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Giving an update about the situation in Yemen’s Ataq Directorate in Shabwah Governorate, the Deputy Director of the Executive Center for Mine Action (YEMAC) in Marib, Muntather Al-Radfani discussed YEMAC and Masam’s efforts to clear booby-trapped landmines.

Yemen’s central energy-rich Shabwah province has been a central frontline in the conflict between Houthi militias and pro-government forces and has been littered with landmines and other remnants of war.

“The National Demining Program, in partnership with the Saudi project Masam, is carrying out two operations to destroy a number of mines and other war remnants, such as projectiles, detonators and the like,” Al-Radfani said about the operation taking place in the Marra area of Ataq.

Discussing the clearance of booby-trapped mines, the Deputy Director said: “The addition of fuzes and other remnants [such as grenades] to landmines is considered to create even more effective landmines because they explode and lead to the detonation of the landmine, making it even more severe. Therefore, the engineering teams of Project Masam cleared, de-assembled and destroyed them.”

Due to the advances in their manufacturing, and technical and technological aspects, locally-produced booby-trapped mines encountered in the last few months across Yemen make mine clearance even more dangerous, as their anti-handling devices and booby-traps are designed to explode if removed by any unsuspecting deminer or civilian.

The landmines have had a “very negative impact on people’s lives” – on their daily movements, their concerns, pastures, water sources and the various roads that served them, Al-Radfani explained.

Project Masam continues to provide specialised training to Yemeni demining teams, as they continue to encounter newly-developed booby-trapped mines planted by parties opposing the pro-government forces, including Houthi militias.