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Yemen: Explosion kills 5 mine clearance experts including a Brit

January 20, 2019 at 1:50 pm

A Yemeni fighter of the pro-government forces walks with a rifle in the Houthi-held Red Sea port city of Hudaydah on December 15, 2018. [AFP/Getty Images]

Five foreign mine clearance experts were killed in an explosion in Yemen’s eastern Marib city on Sunday, according to local sources.

A number of mines exploded inside the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance MASAM in the city, a source with the center told Anadolu Agency.

“The landmines were gathered by the experts to be disposed, but they exploded,” the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

A security source said Deputy Programme Manager at Masam Johan ‘H’ den Haan, a Briton of South African origin, was among those killed in the explosion.

The other dead experts were from Colombia and African countries, the source said, without giving further details.

There was no comment from the Yemeni government or the Saudi-led coalition on the explosion.

The Yemeni government and allies accuse the Houthi rebels, who overran much of Yemen in 2014, of planting thousands of landmines across the impoverished country.

MASAM says it has managed to defuse more than 37,000 landmines planted by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and several Arab allies have launched a massive air campaign aimed at rocking back Houthi gains and shoring up the Saudi-backed government.