UK Troops accused of Training Child Soldiers in Yemen
UK Foreign Office minister Mark Field has promised to get to the bottom of “very serious and well sourced” allegations that British special forces have been training child soldiers in the Saudi-led war against Yemen. He was answering an urgent question asked in the Commons recently by the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, who suggested the British troops may have been witnesses to war crimes. She claimed as many as 40 percent of the soldiers in the Saudi coalition were children, a breach of international humanitarian law.Field also said he would be making inquiries with the UK Ministry of Defence in light of a report that British Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers were injured in a firefight with the HouthiAnsarullah movement in Yemen.Conservative Party MP Andrew Mitchell said the allegations were so serious because they flew in the face of successive assurances given by ministers that the UK was not a participant in the Saudi war against Yemen, and was only providing general logistical support to Riyadh.
The Saudi-led war has taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that over 22 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, while 8.4 million are threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.