Children ‘badly hurt by landmine which exploded as one played with it'
Three children and a woman have been badly hurt in a landmine explosion in Yemen, medical officials said.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the mine blew up on Thursday when one of the children began playing with the device.
The group, which did not reveal the blast’s exact location, said the four victims arrived at a hospital in the besieged city of Taiz before being moved to other health facilities.
It said the woman is 60 and the youngest child is seven.
MSF’s project co-ordinator Joseph Alick said in a statement shared on Twitter: “One child was playing with an unknown object, that turned out to be a mine and it instantly detonated, injuring the child and others around.”
He added: “In Taiz Houban, we continue to treat patients, many of them children, with serious injuries caused by deadly landmine explosions.
“It is disheartening to see people being exposed to such dangers every day.”
Landmines have been laid in Yemen since the 1960s but the outbreak of war in 2014 sparked a rise in their use.
Some 32 people in Yemen were killed by landmines and other unexploded bombs last month, said Yemeni Landmine Records, a group documenting landmine casualties.
Yemen’s ruinous civil war began after Iranian backed-Houthi rebels swept down from the northern mountains and seized the capital Sanaa along with much of the north of the country, ousting the internationally recognised government.
Saudi Arabia entered the war on the side of Yemen’s exiled government in 2015.
Houthi rebels have widely used landmines.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (Acled) said Houthi landmines killed at least 122 people between 2016 and 2018.
“Due to the difficulty of obtaining accurate estimates, these figures are likely to make up a fraction of all mine detonations involving civilians in Yemen,” Acled said in a 2018 report.
Waves of Saudi-led airstrikes have also been accused of killing thousands of civilians, striking markets, hospitals and weddings during the eight-year conflict.
Now entering its ninth year, the conflict has since turned into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and killed more than 150,000 people.