Saudi mercenaries steal aid as Yemen starves: Report

Alwaght – Thousands of families leaving in Yemen’s Taiz are not getting food aid intended for them, because armed units allied with the Saudi-led and American-backed military coalition steal them, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

The AP’s report was based on documents reviewed by the news agency and interviews with Nabil al-Hakimi, a humanitarian official in Taiz, and other officials and aid workers.

Reports of disarray and thievery streamed in to al-Hakimi this spring and summer from around Taiz — 5,000 sacks of rice doled out without record of where they’d gone . . . 705 food baskets looted from a welfare agency’s warehouses . . . 110 sacks of grain pillaged from trucks trying to make their way through the craggy northern highlands overlooking the city, according to the AP

“The army that should protect the aid is looting the aid,” al-Hakimi told the AP.

Across Yemen, factions and militias have blocked food aid from going to groups suspected of disloyalty, diverted it to front-line combat units or sold it for profit on the black market, according to public records and confidential documents obtained by the AP and interviews with more than 70 aid workers, government officials and average citizens from six different provinces.

According to AP, the problem of stolen aid is common in Taiz and other areas controlled by the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, resigned President who fled to Saudi Arabia after Ansarullah t took control of Capital Sanaa in 2015.

In the wake of ouster of Saudi puppet regime in Sanaa, Riyadh formed a mostly Arab coalition to attack the already impoverished Yemeni state in order to undermine Ansarullah, an anti-Saudi movement administrating most of the country, as well as to restore power to its puppet, Mansur Hadi.

 The bloody aggression, launched on 27 March 2015, has claimed lives of tens of thousands of Yemeni people and displaced hundreds of thousands more. According to The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), released on 25 December, at least 60,223 people have been killed in Yemen between January 2016 and the end of November 2018.

The figure includes both combatants and civilians who were killed as a direct result of war on Yemen.

It does not include deaths caused by disease or malnutrition, as thousands more have died in Yemen as a result of the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the country.

Up to 85,000 children under five may have died as a result of starvation or disease since the beginning of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen in April 2015, Save the Children said last month.

The United Nations has also warned that as many as 14 million people could be on the brink of starvation across the country.

According to ACLED’s data, nearly half of all combat-related deaths since 2016 took place so far this year.

Of all the fatalities, 28,182 were recorded in the first 11 months of 2018. That marks a 68 percent increase compared to last year, the group said.

November 2018 was also the deadliest month since ACLED began tabulating the death toll nearly three years ago, with 3,058 reported fatalities.

Notably, the group found that 37 percent of the civilians killed in armed violence so far this year died in the city of Hudaydah.

Seventy percent of the food aid and imports enter Yemen through the city’s port, AP reported, and Hudaydah has been the scene of fierce fighting between the Ansarullah and Saudi mercenaries, as the Saudi-led coalition has sought to retake Hudaydah from the resistance group.