CAIRO (AP) —
The United Nations Children’s Fund said on Saturday that a surge of fighting in Yemen’s war-torn country has been especially violent for children this month, with at least eight children killed and 33 injured.
According to UNICEF’s representative in Yemen, Philippe Duamelle, the casualties occurred in a number of locations, including the provinces of Taiz and Hodeida, where fighting between internationally recognised government troops and Houthi rebels has escalated. He speculated that the death toll could be much higher.
“We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms. Too often children and families are paying such a heavy price as conflict rages around them,” he said, adding that some attacks had targeted a school and a hospital in Taiz. He did not indicated which side was responsible.
Children were also injured in other provinces, according to Duamelle, including the central province of Marib, which the Houthis have been trying to retake from government troops.
At least 385,000 people may be displaced by the Houthi offensive on Marib. According to the United Nations Migration Agency, four displacement camps have been abandoned in the province since the offensive began in February.
Yemen has been torn apart by civil war since the Houthis took control of the capital Sanaa and much of the country’s north in 2014, forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government to flee to the south and then to Saudi Arabia. Months later, a Saudi-led coalition, supported by the US at the time, entered the war to restore Hadi to power.
The conflict, which is now stuck in a stalemate, has killed more than 130,000 people, including more than 12,000 civilians, and has sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in a country that was already the poorest in the Arab world.