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RIYADH: Yemen’s President Rashad Al-Alimi awarded Saudi Arabia’s Project Masam the Medal of Bravery for its humanitarian efforts to clear Yemen of landmines and other remnants of war.

Al-Alimi, chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council and commander-in-chief of the armed forces in Yemen, presented the award to Ousama Al-Gosaibi, the project’s managing director.

The Yemeni president also honored his country’s National Mine Action Program, represented by its director, Brig. Gen. Amin Al-Aqili, with the medal.

Rashad Al-Alimi awards Medal of Bravery to the team for landmine clearance efforts. (SPA)

On June 26, 2023, Al-Alimi issued two decisions to award Project Masam and the National Mine Action Program for their role in clearing Yemeni lands of mines and unexploded ordnance planted by the Houthi militias, and in recognition of their martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the safety of the Yemeni people and the country’s future generations.

Al-Gosaibi expressed his gratitude to Al-Alimi for honoring Project Masam. He said: “On behalf of myself and all Project Masam staff, we dedicate this recognition to the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support of Yemen through numerous humanitarian projects.”

He added that since the start of the initiative in 2018, Project Masam has cleared more than 55 million square meters of land and removed 436,376 mines, improvised explosive devices, and unexploded ordnance.

Overseen by the Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief, the demining operations took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale and Saada.

The explosives, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a threat to civilians, including children, women and the elderly.

Al-Gosaibi affirmed Project Masam’s determination to continue working to fulfill the initiative’s humanitarian mission.

The explosives, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a threat to civilians, including children, women and the elderly. (Supplied)

Over the past years, 33 of the project’s workers have been killed and around 47 others have sustained various injuries while removing mines.  

Al-Aqili said: “The National Mine Action Program has removed more than 800,000 mines … bringing the total number of mines and unexploded ordnance removed in the country through the program’s teams and partners in the Saudi project to more than 1.2 million since 2015.”

The Saudi initiative trains local demining engineers and provides them with modern equipment. It also offers support to Yemenis injured by the devices.

About 5 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen, many of them displaced by the presence of land mines.

Masam teams are tasked with clearing villages, roads and schools to facilitate the safe movement of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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