More than 80 soldiers have been killed in a missile and drone attack which took place on a mosque based in a military camp in Marib on Saturday. According to a medical source at a Marib city hospital, at least 83 soldiers were killed in the strike. The attack took place during evening prayers and it has been attributed to the Houthi rebels, officially known as Ansar Allah. The attack follows a similar assault on the headquarters of the Arab coalition in November of last year when Houthi militants fired a missile and killed seven Yemeni soldiers.
The attack happened days after the UN envoy for Yemen told the UN Security Council the country had one its quietest periods since 2015. Martin Griffiths told the council on Thursday. “This is remarkable. Indeed, it has been one of the quietest weeks in Yemen since the war began.” Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi addressed the strike on Yemeni soldiers as “cowardly and terrorist” as the “disgraceful actions of the Houthi militia without a doubt confirm its unwillingness to (achieve) peace because it knows nothing but death and destruction”. Martin Griffiths, UN Special Envoy for Yemen, notes that “the hard-earned progress that Yemen has made on de-escalation is very fragile. Such actions can derail this progress”. However, this advice does not extend purely to the Houthi rebels. Martin Griffiths urges all parties to “stop the escalation” and focus on constructive, peaceful policies instead.
Despite Griffith’s optimism for a more peaceful Yemen, the Houthi’s strike on the military base was undoubtedly a response to the tens of thousands of people who have been displaced since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and allies backed the government against the Houthi rebels. A conflict which has caused one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises. The Houthi rebels are an experienced political movement, who have become learned in sophisticated drone technology. However, in spite of this, the Houthi’s have not claimed immediate responsibility for the attack this weekend. According to Al Jazeera, the Houthi’s deny being “puppets” of Iran and claim to be fighting a corrupt system.
The country has attempted to take steps towards peace, such as humanitarian corridors, to provide aid, relief, and healthcare for the 22 million people who are dependent on humanitarian assistance and protection. However, these steps are small aids for the Yemeni civilians who continue to feel the majority of the effects of the conflict. The Independent states, the war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 3 million and brought the country to the brink of a major famine. Hadi’s comments following the attack on the military base on Saturday are supposed to represent strength, preparing the country “for battle”. However, Hadi’s statement represents an ongoing commitment to violence within the nation, to no avail.
The humanitarian corridors which were implemented within Yemen back in 2018 appeared at the time to present a slightly more civilian-focused, optimistic view on the peace process in Yemen. However, the humanitarian efforts continue to be overshadowed by the inability of both the government and the rebels to commit to a peaceful resolution. Once again, there needs to be a stronger obligation to the protection of Yemeni lives. However, those involved in the conflict continue to be committed to violence, and control, and in turn, Yemeni lives as treated as disposable.
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