SANAA, 21 April (Saba)- UNICEF has expressed grave concern that children in Yemen are increasingly becoming victims of landmines and unexploded ordnance.
In the first three months of 2012 alone, 13 children were reported killed and another 12 maimed by unexploded ordnance or mines in 12 reported incidents. Victims are mainly from the governorates of Abyan, Aden and Lahj provinces (south), Hajja (north) and Sana’a.
In 2011, unexploded ordnance or mines reportedly left 28 children killed and nine maimed.
These included 18 children killed and four injured in a single incident at an ammunition factory blast in the Abyan governorate in March last year.
“These figures are extremely alarming,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Representative in Yemen. “The casualties for just the first three months of 2012 are fast approaching the total for 2011.”
Earlier this week, three children were also killed by a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Hadramout. According to government officials, the children were on their way to school.
“UNICEF is deeply disturbed by these developments and strongly urges the transitional government and all relevant parties in Yemen to guarantee, at all times, the safety of all children and their unhindered access to basic social services,” said Mr. Cappelaere.
“Children represent over half the population of Yemen and it is our collective responsibility to ensure the fulfillment of their rights and protection,” he added.