In a significant development, Project Masam, a Saudi Arabian initiative dedicated to clearing landmines in Yemen, achieved a noteworthy milestone in the second week of November by successfully dismantling 637 mines strategically planted by the Iran-backed Houthi militia. The project, overseen by the Saudi aid agency KSrelief, played a crucial role in mitigating the threats posed by these explosive devices.
The specialized teams involved in Project Masam demonstrated their effectiveness by destroying a total of 518 unexploded ordnance, along with 117 anti-tank mines and two anti-personnel mines. These mines, indiscriminately planted by the Houthi militia across Yemen, presented a severe danger to the lives of innocent civilians, including vulnerable groups such as children, women, and the elderly.
Project Masam’s efforts are part of a broader commitment by Saudi Arabia, initiated under the directive of King Salman, to assist the people of Yemen. By clearing these explosive devices, the project contributes to creating safer pathways and facilitating the delivery of essential humanitarian aid to Yemen’s citizens, reaffirming Saudi Arabia’s dedication to promoting stability and security in the region.
Demining operations spearheaded by Project Masam have made substantial progress across various regions in Yemen, including Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale, and Saada. Since the initiative’s commencement in 2018, a remarkable total of 421,469 mines have been successfully cleared under the leadership of Ousama Algosaibi, the project’s managing director.
This comprehensive demining effort encompasses the removal of 265,397 unexploded ordnance items, 141,783 anti-tank mines, 7,899 improvised explosive devices, and 6,390 anti-personnel mines. The initiative goes beyond mere clearance, actively engaging in training local demining engineers and equipping them with modern tools. Additionally, Project Masam extends support to those Yemenis who have been injured by these hazardous devices, underscoring a commitment to both clearing the landscape and assisting those affected.
The staggering scale of displacement in Yemen, with an estimated 5 million people forced to flee their homes since the conflict’s onset, highlights the urgent need for demining efforts. Landmines have played a significant role in displacing communities, making the demining work of Project Masam a crucial component in fostering safe environments. The project prioritizes the clearance of vital areas such as villages, roads, and schools, ensuring the secure movement of civilians and facilitating the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid and services in the region.
The project’s contract was extended for another year in June at a cost of $33.29 million.