Despite allegations of force mobilization and violations, the UN ambassador to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, stated on Wednesday that the current cease-fire between warring factions has resulted in a rare considerable reduction of hostilities, despite reports of force mobilization and violations in and around Marib.
“There has been a considerable decrease in violence.” “However, there have been allegations of hostile military activity, particularly in the Marib area, which are concerning,” Grundberg said during a virtual press conference.
“We are presently working with the parties to establish a coordination mechanism to maintain open lines of communication and assist them in preventing, de-escalating, and managing incidents in support of their pledge to halt all offensive military actions and freeze their positions.”
The UN is not monitoring the cease-fire on the ground and has delegated implementation to the parties involved, according to the official, who expressed hope that the cease-fire will open the way for a comprehensive agreement to end the war in Yemen.
“We must make the most of the opportunity provided by this cease-fire to work on resolving the conflict.” The sides’ commitment to seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict that prioritizes the interests of the Yemeni people will be put to the test during the next two months.”
The two-month truce, which began on April 2, was intended to bring an end to hostilities throughout the country by opening Sanaa International Airport, allowing fuel tankers into Hodeidah’s port, and reopening highways in Taiz and other provinces.
Meanwhile, human rights organizations and government officials in Yemen have urged that foreign mediators order the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, to hand over maps showing the locations of hundreds of landmines around the country.
“The Houthis should be forced to submit those maps, and the government and other organizations should assist Yemen in eradicating this plague,” Saleem Allawo, a lawyer and activist with Yemen’s National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, said on Wednesday to Arab News.
The Houthis placed hundreds of thousands of landmines across the country before taking Sanaa in late 2014 to thwart military advances by their opponents.
Thousands of people have been killed or injured by landmines, which have demolished communities and farms, wrecked hundreds of cars, and prevented many displaced people from returning to their homes.
According to military officials, the Houthis have strewn landmines throughout previous battlefields at random and in large numbers, and identifying and defusing them might take years.
If the Houthis do not have maps, Allawo said, their forces should be directed to locate the landmines and demand that demining teams clean the ground affected as soon as possible to preserve the lives of displaced people returning to their homes following the cease-fire.
On Wednesday, Abdul Baset Al-Qaedi, Yemen’s Ministry of Information’s undersecretary, told Arab News that the Houthis had hidden landmines that looked like rocks or other shapes in order to inflict maximum damage.
“The major issue is that the Houthi militia puts mines randomly and without maps, doubling the losses,” Al-Qaedi stated.
Since 2014, landmines laid by the Houthis have killed 2,818 individuals, including 534 children and 177 women, and injured 3,655 others, including 854 children and 255 women, according to a report released on Tuesday by multiple Yemeni NGOs.
The city of Taiz had the highest number of civilian deaths from landmines, with 549, followed by Hodeidah with 479, and Marib with 274.
Since January of last year, at least 363 civilians have been murdered by Houthi landmines and explosive ordnances, according to the Yemeni Landmine Monitor.