Yemen: Captive child reveals how he was lured into fighting with the Houthi militia

Copy of Yemen_Houthi_Child_Soldiers_15369.jpg-53e9c~1
In this July 30, 2018, photo, a 17 year-old boy holds his weapon in High dam in Marib, Yemen. Al Houthis have widely deployed child soldiers in the conflict. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: A 13-year-old Yemeni child has revealed how he was lured into fighting with the Houthi militia in Yemen.

Abd Al Salam Mohammad Qasim Hassan Al Jazzar talked about the way he was drawn by the Houthis to the fighting fronts, taking advantage of his family’s conditions, to push him towards death in one of the fronts of the Nahham district east of Sanaa, where he was captured by the forces The Yemeni National Army.

“I was deceived by one of the Houthi leaders, Rabih Saleh, who convinced me to go to a cultural course in which I would listen to Quranic verses and religious lessons, and at the end of it I would get an Eidiyah, [a cash] gift,” said Al Jazzar.

Al Jazzar is one of more than 30,000 child soldiers recruited by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen to bolster their ranks in the country’s five-year war. According to the media center of the Yemeni Armed Forces, militias asked the child, who hails from the Shanan family in Al Jawf Governorate (north), at the end of the cultural course organized by the Houthis, to go to a site that was said to wait for a committee that would come to them to disburse their financial dues.

However, the committee did not come, and then they took him to one of the fighting fronts in the Nahham district.

After three hours of their arrival, the site was attacked by the national army forces, said Al Jazzar, and he surrendered, while about 12 others who were with him at the site were killed by army fire.

Al Jazzar has called on all of his fellow children and youth not to believe the Houthi leaders who he described as “traitors” and “thieves”. “Go back to your homes, and do not allow the Houthis to deceive you, and take advantage of you,” he warned.

Al Jazzar reassured his family about his current situation, stressing that he is “in good health with the National Army forces”.

Amid the heavy losses that the Houthi militia have incurred, the rebels continue their most heinous crimes against the children of Yemen by using them as human shields in their war and coup against legitimacy in Yemen.


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