On 27 May 2021, Masam was called after a mine laid by Houthi militias exploded on a boat in the Jabal Sheikh Saeed area of the strategic Bab Al-Mandab Strait.
Since Yemen’s civil was began in 2014, Houthi militias have planted land and seamines across Yemen. Coastal communities in Yemen are direct victims of these explosive items.
Following the blast on a boat, a demining team was dispatched to investigate the report. The team immediately surveyed the area and commenced its clearance activities. Over 85 anti-tank landmines have been found cleared in this area alone.
In Jabal Sheikh Saeed, we caught up with Khaled Hussein, Leader of Team 19, who said: “We have already covered a long distance and secured about 110,000 square meters in this area, and hopefully we will continue until the entire area is secured and also civilians are safe.”
This is a vital area for civilians – boats transport fishermen’s catch, foodstuffs and animal feed. By preventing access to trade, landmines and seamines are preventing access to civilians’ lifelines and livelihoods. Fikri Hassan Qassem, Leader of Masam’s Team 28 who operates in the same area, confirmed: “during the past period there have been several accidents”.
“This is a very important area and civilians benefit from it, but it is an area affected by the presence of many anti-tank mines,” Qassem Al-Dossary, Assistant Managing Director of Project Masam, explained.
“Masam teams are located along the western coast, in villages and deserts, and with the cooperation of civilians who guide the teams to the affected sites, the demining teams were able to achieve their goals of protecting the Yemeni civilians from many mines.”
By clearing coastal areas and areas of immediate humanitarian priority, Project Masam is preventing future tragedies and allowing for the safe movement of civilians and humanitarian goods and services, effectively creating resilience within communities affected by the threat of land and sea mines.