MARIB, Yemen (AP) — An Associated Press investigation has found that thousands of children have been enlisted by Yemen’s Houthi rebels to fight in the country’s civil war in an organized recruitment campaign.
A senior Houthi military official told the AP the movement inducted 18,000 child soldiers into its rebel army since the beginning of the war in 2014. He spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information. The AP interviewed 18 former child soldiers who described how recruiters targeted them at schools, homes and even on soccer pitches. The children went through indoctrination and military training before being sent to front lines, where they often saw fellow children killed in battle.
Brig. Gen. Yahia Sarie, a Houthi military spokesman, denied children under 18 are systematically recruited.