By Gulsen Topcu
ADEN, Yemen (AA) – Yemen’s Houthi rebel group has recruited more than 30,000 child soldiers since war broke out in the country, a government official said Wednesday.
The Houthis sent them to conflict zones and military reservations without any training, Human Rights Minister Mohamed Askar told Anadolu Agency.
Askar described the situation in which child soldiers were sent to conflict areas and prevented from going to school as a "time bomb”.
He stressed that the provision of humanitarian aid by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has been partially suspended due to looting by the Houthis in the capital, Sanaa, since June 21.
Stating that more than 850,000 people would be affected by the suspension, he added that the Houthis used the aid for military purposes.
Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.
Since then, tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict while another 14 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN.
According to UN figures, Yemen is facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with more than 10 million people driven to the brink of famine. More than 22 million people in Yemen are desperate for humanitarian aid and protection.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar