The New Humanitarian Annual Report 2021

  1. Accueil
  2. Moyen-Orient et Afrique du Nord
  3. Yémen

Landmines stall IDP returns in south

Demining teams in Jaar, Yemen
(Adel Yahya/IRIN)

When Yemen’s Defence Ministry announced in mid-June that militants of the Ansar al-Sharia group, which had controlled the southern governorate of Abyan since May 2011, had been routed, 40-year-old Saleh Salim Abu Khalil decided to go and check on his home in al-Kood District.

Khalil’s plan was to bring his six-member family home after they were displaced to Aden almost a year ago. Shortly after arriving in the district, however, he was killed by a landmine.

“On the second day of his visit, we were deeply concerned why he hadn’t called us back as he promised,” his wife Khadija told IRIN. “On the third day, we got the bad news that he was killed in a landmine explosion.”

In nearby al-Mahfad District, a man called Salim Atef was killed on 24 June - and his wife and three children injured - in a blast at their home: It turned out that one of the children had inadvertently brought an UXO remnant into the house, local witnesses told IRIN.

According to local officials, landmines are a primary obstacle to the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Aden and Lahj governorates.

Jaar local council member Mohsen Bin Jameela, who has been displaced with his family in Aden since July 2011, said several dozen families whose homes are undamaged, have decided not to return after hearing that landmines are claiming lives on a daily basis.

''Clearing the entire governorate [Abyan] of landmines may take more than three months''

Secretary-General of Zinjibar local council Ghassan Faraj said at least 42 people have been killed in landmine blasts in the governorate over the past two weeks.

“Twenty nine of them have been killed in Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan Governorate, another nine in Jaar District and four in al-Kood Distirct,” he told IRIN. “Dozens of others have been wounded. In Zinjibar town, traces of planted landmines are very visible in the main streets and suburbs. As a result, most of the town’s inhabitants couldn’t return home.”

On 12 May, the army launched a large-scale offensive, driving Ansar al-Sharia militants out of almost all areas hitherto under their control. Hundreds of militants and dozens of soldiers were killed, according to the Defence Ministry.

Official statistics indicate that more than 100,000 people were displaced from Abyan to neighbouring Aden and Lahj governorates as a result of clashes between the army and Ansar al-Sharia militants.

Demining

Efforts are under way to demine the area. On 13 June the National Mine Action Programme (NMAP) began to clear landmines in Zinjibar, Jaar, Khanfar and Lawder districts. “A large number of anti-vehicle and anti-personnel mines have been planted… Clearing the entire governorate of landmines may take more than three months,” Mansour al-Azi, director of NMAP, told IRIN.

Engineering teams have removed more than 3,000 landmines and UXO remnants around Zinjibar and Jaar cities, according to a report by the Governor’s Office in Abyan.

On 19 June Yemen’s cabinet ordered NMAP to demine all districts which have been under the control of Ansar al-Sharia militants, according to Mohammed al-Shaddadi, a member of parliament from Abyan who attended the meeting.

ay/cb


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Partager cet article
Participez à la discussion

Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.

We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant. 

But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced. 

You can support our journalism from just $5 a month, and every contribution will go towards our mission. 

Support The New Humanitarian today.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.

Join