Project Masam’s Managing Director Ousama Algosaibi

Riyadh "Riyadh Daily"
Ousama Algosaibi: We work in harsh conditions... We have never stopped working hard and achieving development goals.

‘There is still a long way to go to reach a mine-free Yemen” Project Masam MD warns Project Masam’s Managing Director Ousama Algosaibi has warned that there is still a long way to reach a mine-free Yemen, despite the project clearing over 450,000 landmines and explosive remnants of war.

Since at least 2015, Houthi militias have planted landmines – conventional and improvised, or locally-manufactured, in quantities and sophistication that far exceeds reasonable limits, according to Algosaibi.

In a press statement, which accompanied the release of the project’s weekly operational update, the managing director confirmed demining teams cleared over 450,000 explosive items since the project launch in mid-2018. These included banned anti-personnel, and anti-vehicle mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Describing the pace of the humanitarian landmine clearance operations, Algosaibi said the project continues to perform its work in “exceptional circumstances in every sense of the word, most notably that the military operations and mine-laying operations have not stopped yet”, in addition to the lack of minefield maps and the difficulty of the terrain in which minefields are located or suspected to be located.

Additionally, Houthi militias continue to advance and evolve their manufacturing and planting of these landmines across Yemeni land, he claimed.

Given the difficult circumstances, Algosaibi praised the cooperation shown by Yemeni civilians with the project’s demining teams – who in part rely on civilian reports of suspected minefields to carry out their operations.

In that regard, the managing director highlighted the success of awareness-raising campaigns – known as Explosive Ordnance Risk Education - aimed at educating the public about the dangers of mines and how to behave should they suspect the presence of landmines or explosive devices.

Algosaibi added that these campaigns were implemented by the project, and the concerned authorities in the Yemeni government.

In the press release, Algosaibi also voiced his thanks and appreciation to the government of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to the Yemeni presidency and government for the support and encouragement given to Project Masam as it carries out its duties.

The managing director also praised the strategic partnership and fruitful cooperation with the National Mine Action Programme in Yemen, led by Brigadier General Ameen Aqili, as well as the Executive Mine Action Centre (YEMAC) in Aden Governorate, led by Brigadier General Qaid Haitham.

Project Masam operated under the umbrella of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, and is Saudi-funded and managed.

In his statement, Algosaibi said that the project continues its mission to help Yemenis by ridding them of the devastating effects of mines and explosive items. These dangerous devices have tragically claimed innocent lives and caused injuries, and hampered economic and developmental progress across the entire nation.

The project operates with full transparency, publicly disclosing all numbers and statistics regarding clearance and demolition operations – with this information being publicly accessible.

Meanwhile, Project Masam continues to deliver essential training to its demining teams – an integral part of daily activities for deminers and medical teams.

Algosaibi also pointed out that, since the project’s inception, the project has committed to train and prepare Yemeni personnel in the fields of clearance of mines and the handling of explosive devices and unexploded ordnance. The project currently employs over 500 Yemeni personnel.

The managing director expressed his hopeful anticipation for a mine-free Yemen, adding that this goal can and will only be accomplished through collective efforts of local and international partners.

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