One of Project Masam’s demining teams has discovered and cleared dozens of landmines in a recently liberated area in Yemen’s western Hays Directorate in less than 48 hours.
In November this year, Yemen’s pro-government forces took full control of previously-held key areas in eastern Hays, in southern Hodeidah Governorate. The Hays District was initially liberated in 2018 but Hodeidah has been a strategic battleground of Yemen’s civil war. Masam continues to witness a trail of landmines and other remnants of war left behind by Houthi militias, after pro-government forces took over land Houthis had controlled.
“We headed to Al-Saidia Road, Hays Directorate, based on civilians’ complaints about explosions,” Ahmed Hussein Ahmed, a demining expert and member of Team 24, told Project Masam from Hodeidah. “We have been working in this field for two days [during the week 25 November – 31 December 2021], and we discovered about 20 anti-tank mines, and work is still ongoing, as there is a large number of mines next to the roads.”
The team, led by Jalal Umabed, carries out survey and clearance in areas suspected of landmine contamination, to ensure the safe return of villagers.
“Our first goal is to secure the roads leading to villages and farms so that civilians can return to their villages from which they were displaced four years ago,” Ahmed added.
The six demining teams (Teams 7, 20, 24, 26, 27 and 30) currently operating in Hays cleared 55,000sqm of land during the same week, effectively clearing eight anti-personnel landmines, 816 anti-tank landmines, seven unexploded ordnance (UXO) and eight improvised explosive devices (IEDs).