Issue of child soldiers raised in Yemen

Nov. 23, 2009 at 11:14 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- International aid agencies called on the parties involved in the Yemeni conflict to end their use of child soldiers in the fighting in the northern provinces.

Yemeni forces announced they made significant progress in the northern province of Saada in their fight against the Shiite al-Houthi rebel group.

The military said it drove al-Houthi fighters back from areas bordering Saudi Arabia in recent operations, bombing several insurgent hideouts. Saudi Arabia assisted in the effort.

Yemen launched a major military operation against al-Houthi rebels in August. Both sides point to aggressions and atrocities committed on either side of the conflict.

Members of UNICEF and Islamic Relief Worldwide at a recent news conference slammed al-Houthi rebels for using child soldiers from Saada in their fight against government forces, al-Arabiya reports.

The Sanaa-based rights group, Shawthab Foundation for Children and Development, joined the uproar, saying it was imperative that children be protected from the horrors of war.

Apart from child soldiers, the United Nations and other non-governmental groups have warned of the humanitarian disaster caused by the growing number of people displaced by the lingering conflict in Yemen.

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