Yemen minister: Houthis have destroyed 70 percent of Yemen’s sports facilities

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The Houthi militia’s kidnapping of national football team player Walid al-Hubaishi has sparked wide anger among Yemenis. The terror group has committed several violations against sports and sport players. The incident of Hubaishi has shed light on the matter.

In an interview with Al Arabiya, Nayef al-Bakry, Yemen’s minister of youth and sports, said: “the Houthi militias commit several violations aimed at destroying the sports infrastructure in Yemen.”

“Al-Hubaishi’s incident is not their first attempt, there have been numerous abuses committed by militias against individual athletes or sports facilities since their coup against legitimacy,” he added.

ALSO READ: Chaotic scenes in Sanaa as Houthi factions fight each other

The minister noted that there are about 11 players who have been killed by the Houthis, in addition to arresting several players, some of whom had been released and others are still under their detention. The militias even prevent the families of the detained players from seeing them.

Al-Bakry said “we condemn the arrest of players; sports are separate from politics.” He mentioned how sports facilities have been used by the militias for weapon storage, and as camps to train its fighters.

He said 70 percent of the sports facilities were partially or completely damaged, because of the war launched by the Houthis on the Yemeni cities.

The minister noted that there several challenges facing sports and athletes in Yemen, among them is exploiting the energies of youth in war.

ALSO READ: Houthis deprive two mln Yemeni children from education, closes 3600 schools

“There are those who exploit young people in the northern and southern governorates. Unfortunately, the deaths among youth in Aden have increased due to this misuse, especially because they are unemployed.” But amid all of this, the good news is that sports are gradually returning to Yemen, the minister revealed.

“In Hadramout, some sports activities have started and sports events were held in the governorates of Aden, Taiz, Abyan and Lahj. There were competitions such as the President’s Cup for Volleyball being held in Marib, as well as the first and second Olympic Aden Festival.”

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