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Children Recruited by Houthis Contract COVID-19 in Yemen's Saada

Children Recruited by Houthis Contract COVID-19 in Yemen's Saada

Thursday, 18 June, 2020 - 07:15
A Yemeni boy poses with a Kalashnikov assault rifle during a gathering of newly-recruited Houthi fighters in the capital Sanaa, to mobilize more fighters to battlefronts in the war against pro-government forces in several Yemeni cities. (File photo: AFP)

Dozens of children in Yemen’s Saada province have been infected by the new coronavirus after being forced by Houthi militias to attend indoctrination schools and institutes, well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.


Reports indicate that Houthis failed to implement health precautionary measures at the designated sectarian schools and institutes. This comes as the virus has spread dramatically in areas under Houthi control in northern Yemen.


According to sources based in Saada, a Houthi stronghold, “the virus has spread largely among children who have been lately forced by Houthis to attend the militias’ schools and institutes.”


Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat under the conditions of anonymity, the sources warned that a catastrophe could well be on the way for the province should the international community remain silent towards Houthi atrocities.


Children are being indoctrinated into the Houthi sectarian agenda without any regard to their childhood or lives.


Abdulkhaliq Bishr, one of Saada’s top clerics, confirmed that the virus had spread significantly in the province, especially among school students.


He told Asharq Al-Awsat that a number of families have already been killed by the virus.


“The disease is spreading in Saada’s countryside and we are hearing stories of children and whole families dying,” Bishr said.


He stressed that the Houthi militias are exploiting the summer vacation to deploy child soldiers to battlefronts after having indoctrinated them.


Houthis are forcing the parents of children to bring them to summertime institutes launched by the group to brainwash them into becoming child soldiers. The gathering spaces are not being regulated according to health precautionary measures needed to curb the spread of the COVID-19.


Bishr further warned of Houthis continuing to brainwash children into their ideology, saying that after six years of war, “the spread of Houthi ideology has gone a long way.”


He added that the lack of international intervention to save the Yemenis means that thousands of timed human ticking bombs are being raised by Houthi extremist and sectarian ideology and may harm the whole world.


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