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Yemeni Minister Accuses Houthi Rebels of Using Child Soldiers
A Yemeni boy holds a Kalashnikov assault rifle during a gathering of newly-recruited Houthi fighters in the capital Sanaa, on July 16, 2017. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP via Getty Images)

Yemeni Minister Accuses Houthi Rebels of Using Child Soldiers

The Yemeni government on Wednesday charged Houthi rebels with enlisting child soldiers in the conflict. Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani accused the rebels of running summer camps within their territory with the disguised intention of converting children to the Houthi cause. Eryani said in a statement that the Houthi militia speaks openly through its media outlets about brainwashing children with extremist thoughts imported from Iran, training them to fight, and sending to the front lines as cannon fodder in their “hopeless battles in implementation of Iranian expansion policies.” Eryani called for a stronger response from the international community to the use of child soldiers, “in gross violation of international laws and conventions.” The Houthi rebels, who have not responded to the allegation, have a poor record of utilizing child soldiers, with a 2018 humanitarian report suggesting that over 19,500 children were engaged in the fighting, of which the United Nations has confirmed approximately 3,500 cases. This comes after an agreement in April, during which the Houthis told the UN that they would cease employing children in their forces.

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