Houthi militias in Yemen continue to forcibly recruit locals in the densely populated governorate of Ibb as battles grow fiercer on the embattled country’s west coast, where the Iran-backed group sustained heavy blows.
Houthi supervisors and leaders continue to implement a campaign of forcible targeting and recruitment against the residents of the governorate, mostly young men and children, a tribal source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The source revealed that directives issued less than a week ago by Mohammad Ali al-Houthi, the cousin of the group’s leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, had urged the group’s followers in Ibb to be vigilant and highly prepared and to continue the process of new recruitment among the citizens.
Al-Houthi called for reinforced recruitment to confront the progress pro-government forces are making towards Ibb.
Speaking under the conditions of anonymity, the tribal source revealed that al-Houthi’s directives had prompted Houthi leaders in Ibb to conduct field trips and request meetings with several local tribal leaders to coordinate additional recruitment.
“Most dignitaries of Ibb’s directorates refused attending the meetings with the Houthi leaders, categorically rejecting the group’s demands to mobilize new recruits to battlefronts,” added the source.
Since the start of the campaign in Ibb, Houthis have managed to recruit over 80 individuals, mostly marginalized youths and children from the districts of Ardal Udayn and Mudhaykhirah.
According to the source, Houthis deployed the new recruits to border outposts without first delivering any military training. The rushed deployment came as an attempt to halt the military advancements of pro-government forces.