Torn by the war between Yemen’s Houthi and supporters of President Hadi, the ever more phenomenon of baby-soldiers is spreading, in the thousands conscripted between Shiite rebels or in the ranks of Sunni groups close to the government in Sana’a. Pushing children to embrace weapons only one reason:extreme poverty. According to a survey by the Washington Post Yemeni families interviewed, have revealed that the main underlying factor of this awesome event, is the extreme poverty in this country.
One of the representatives of Unicef, Julien Harneis, explained that the factions involved in the overland-conflict, including al-Qaeda, are increasing the recruitment of minors by offering them money, regular meals and other benefits. ‘Become a fighter, it is a way to make money and for these children that have a vulnerable background means serviva, and this happens-explains Harneis for all groups,from North to South, in every corner of the country ‘.
Many of them are aged 13 and 16, as are human rights activists. According to some estimates, one-third of the 25,000 Houthi fighters are agedunder 18 years of age. These include Mohammed Ali, 15 years old, who disappeared three months ago and reappeared last week to talk to the family by joining the houthi. ” He’s just a child, should be at school and not be fighting, ” said of his father Abdullah, 49 years, fearing that his son had “undergone the brainwashing” and could risk “coming back home a corpse”.
Unlike on the other hand, in the territories where the phenomenon of ‘baby-soldiers’ is already well established, some families now dependent on the livelihood of children at war, would not accept their return home as this would lead them once again into a situation of economic precariousness. A fighter earns about $ 100 salary a month in a country like Yemen where it is possible to live with about 1 dollar a day, which is a key factor for many to enlist.