At least 279 Yemeni children have been killed and 402 others injured in the last 10 weeks due to the brutal Saudi aggression against its southern neighbor, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says.
The figure is four times higher than the number of children who were killed last year, UNICEF representative in Yemen Julien Harneis said in a Tuesday statement.
The statement also noted that some of the children have been forced to directly participate in fighting between armed groups.
“The recruitment and use of children has also sharply increased. Children in Yemen are being used by armed groups, manning checkpoints or carrying arms.”
According to Harneis, the number of children who were recruited last year by armed groups was 156, while it has already doubled to 318 in the current year.
The statement further emphasized that Yemeni children will suffer from long-lasting ramifications of the ongoing conflict in their homeland.
“The violence in Yemen has not only devastated the lives of millions of children, but is creating terrifying, long-term consequences for their future.”
Referring to the approaching holy month of Ramadan, the statement welcomed “the call of the UN Secretary General [Ban Ki-moon] for a … humanitarian pause during … Ramadan to allow critical assistance to reach all Yemenis in need.”
Saudi Arabia launched its air aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the country’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
The UN says at least 2,600 people have lost their lives and 11,000 others have been wounded due to the conflict in Yemen since March 19.