By Noora Faraj
Al Arabiya with Agencies
The United Nations Children’s Fund has recently reported that more children in Yemen are becoming victims of landmine explosions and other explosive devices in the country.
Children mistake the explosives for toys, not knowing the fatal purpose of the contraption.
UNICEF has connected the issue to the country’s uprising which began last year, leaving Yemen to experience a surge of violence. The organization reported 13 child deaths and 12 others who were severely injured in the first three months of 2012. In addition, 28 children were killed last year.
The majority of casualties were in the areas of Aden, Hajjah, and Saada.
Mansour M. Al-Azi, general director and program manager of the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center, also known as YEMAC, said that the plantation of mines has continued in recent years, and the minefields which have been identified, cover 923 square kilometers.
A survey by YEMAC shows the center has cleared the country of 280,000 landmines so far, but a large amount still remains in underground areas.
Ahmed Kharshi, chairman of SEYAJ Organization for Childhood Protection said that despite the mines being buried in sparsely populated areas, they are those areas that children go to, to play.
He said that mines no longer exist in military offensive areas, but can be found in school and residential areas. It was also reported that landmines were placed in dead bodies, exploding as the corpse was being transported for burial.
Yemen is contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnances from conflicts dating back to the early 1960s, according to the Landmine and Cluster Munitions Monitor. Most mines were placed along borders between the north and south of the country before its unification in 1990.