Yemeni government officials and human rights activists said on Wednesday, that the Iran-backed Houthis have abducted more than 100 villagers in Yemen’s western province of Hodeidah and killed a civilian who resisted their attempt to seize their land and farms.
Houthi figures from Saada led an assault on a cluster of villages, Al-Qusira, east of Hodeidah’s Bayt Al-Faqih district with more than 30 armored vehicles to arrest dozens of villagers, including women and children, who refused to surrender their land.
One man was killed, and eight others were injured as villagers fought the Houthis with bare hands to protect their land and families.
Fatehia Al-Ma’amari, head of Hodeidah’s provincial office of the Ministry of Human Rights, told Arab News that the Houthis brutally beat women and used live bullets to disperse a gathering of women and children who resisted their usurpation of land and arbitrary abduction of men.
“The Houthi militia is committing a full-fledged crime against helpless residents in Bayt Al-Faqih’s Al-Qusira. Women were abused and shot with live ammunition while children and the elderly were detained,” she said, adding that her office alerted the UN Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement about the Houthi attacks and pleaded with them to take action.
According to Al-Ma’amari, the UN mission’s response was that it could not assist the villagers because its job was to only keep an eye on military transgressions and actions in accordance with the Stockholm Agreement.
The confiscation of land by the Houthis in Hodeidah has sparked outrage in Yemen, with calls for international mediators to condemn the robbery, put pressure on the militia to release the abducted individuals, and order them to allow residents to use their farms and land.
Muammar Al-Eryani, Yemen’s information minister, described the Houthi attacks in Hodeidah as a land-looting campaign aimed at displacing residents and transferring land ownership to their leaders and supporters under the guise of using it for military purposes.
“This terrible crime is a part of a terrorist militia’s plan to grab more than 10 km of villagers’ land used for farming, pasture and irrigation, benefiting almost 5,000 people,” Al-Eryani said.
Esam Sharem, a Hodeidah-born member of Yemen’s Shoura Council, urged the UN and its envoy, as well as international rights groups, to act against the Houthis.
“We call on the international community, the UN, human rights organizations, and UN and US envoys to condemn this heinous crime and put real pressure on the Houthi militia to stop confiscating citizens’ land and properties in Hodeidah’s districts,” Sharem said on Twitter, also urging local media and social media activists to support people in Hodeidah.