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Hadi: Houthis recruit refugee children to fight

Hadi said the influx of refugees coming from the nearby Horn of Africa comes on top of Yemen’s already 3 million displaced

Published: Updated:

Yemen’s internationally recognized President Abedrabu Mansour Hadi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has warned on Monday that the Iran-backed Houthi militia group has recruited refugee children hailing from Somalia.

Hadi, who urged the international community and aid agencies for support, said the influx of refugees coming from the nearby Horn of Africa comes on top of Yemen’s already three million internally displaced people (IDP).

The Horn of Africa denotes the region containing the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

“Yemen has 1.2 million refugees or illegal migrants. On a monthly basis there are 14,000 refugees who reach Yemen - about 12,000 from Ethiopia and 2,000 from Somalia,” he said. “The number of the new arrivals to Yemen in the first half of this year has reached 60,000 as per UN figures.”

He also said these refugees are treated like Yemenis, and “they study in our schools and universities…and compete with Yemenis for jobs.”

The Houthis in September 2014 had forced Hadi into exile after their attempted coup. Houthis and their allies from loyalists to deposed Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh are still in control of Sanaa and have announced a political committee to administer the crisis-hit country after the Yemen peace talks in Kuwait ended without any breakthrough in early August.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould al-Sheikh Ahmed, said on Monday night that ceasefire violations in Yemen has become a “raging war,” describing the humanitarian situation there as “worsening and catastrophic.”

He said 21 million Yemenis from out of the total 25 million population are in need of humanitarian aid.

The envoy said preparations are going on for a meeting on Yemen, scheduled to take place on Sept. 21, on the sidelines of UNGA.

He also said that after a meeting with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled al-Hamad al-sabah at UNGA, there are “diplomatic forays taking place on Yemen especially after the last Jeddah meeting.”

His statement hinted at some developments regarding renewed peace talks on Yemen.

After the last failed talks in Kuwait, the UN envoy said new peace talks will be announced but so far this has not yet materialised.