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Yemen Govt. Accuses Houthis of Abducting, Recruiting Female Students

Yemen Govt. Accuses Houthis of Abducting, Recruiting Female Students

Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 07:15
Girls attend a clas at their school, damaged by the ongoing war, in the southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen December 17, 2018. (Reuters)

Information Minister in Yemen’s legitimate government Moammar al-Eryani accused the Iran-backed Houthi militias of waging a systematic campaign to recruit female students as part of their terrorist agenda.

The militias want to recruit girls in their armed groups, called Zeinabiyyat, to use them to spy on women, he charged.

The recruits are forced to join training programs where they are indoctrinated with Houthi ideology, he added.

The minister said that this is part of the Houthis’ attempts to use women in their terrorist operations and destroy Yemen’s traditional values and norms that respect women and hold them in the highest of regards.

Eryani called on international rights groups to condemn such Houthi criminal practices and all forms of violence against women in regions under their control.

Yemeni and international rights sources accused the Houthis of escalating their campaign against women and girls. They cited the kidnapping of dozens of students from schools and off the streets for ransom or to humiliate their parents.

Academic sources in Sanaa told Asharq Al-Awsat that pro-Houthi school principals were forcing students to pay fees under the excuse of funding food for the militias on the battlefronts.

Some of these principals have also been tasked with recruiting the female students to join the Zeinabiyyat group and forcing them to sit through sectarian and weapons training programs.

The students are threatened and blackmailed into paying fees to the Houthis to support their war effort, revealed the sources.

Several students spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat about how they and several of their classmates had refused to comply with the Houthi demands.

They threatened to quit school and urged international rights groups to save them from the militias’ oppressive practices.

Witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said more than 35 girls and students had been kidnapped from schools and off the streets of Sanaa in a short period of time.

The Netherlands-based Rights Radar group said the phenomenon of the abduction of girls, female students and women has increased unprecedentedly in Sanaa and areas under Houthi control.

Sources revealed that a number of girls, who were learning sewing at a workshop, were abducted after they were given an unknown anesthetic substance. They were then moved to a brothel and later a prison.

According to the sources, this abduction was carried out in al-Tawila city of Al-Mahwit governorate, which is under the control of the Houthis.

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