At least six demining experts were killed after a massive explosion rocked a warehouse of explosives and landmines in Yemen's Red Sea port city of Mocha on Thursday.
A government official told Xinhua that the experts affiliated with the Saudi mine-clearing project in Yemen MASAM, were killed and nearly seven others injured when an accident blast rocked a warehouse containing defused explosives in Mocha.
He further added that the blast occurred during the process of collecting and organizing the remnants of mines and explosives that were defused from various areas on the country's western coast after being planted by the Houthi rebels.
In a statement, the Saudi lanmine clearance project MASAM said that the explosion killed the leader of team26 named Abdul Baki Mohammed and five of his supporters.
Earlier, in the month of January this year, as many as five foreign experts also with MASAM - two from South Africa, a Croatian, a Bosnian and a Kosovar - died in an accidental explosion in the central province of Marib.
Rights groups say landmines have killed and injured hundreds of civilians and blocked aid deliveries since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in the government's war against Houthi rebels in 2015. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10,000 people - most of them civilians - have been killed and more than 60,000 wounded in fighting since March 2015. Rights groups say the toll could be much higher.
It is to be noted that Saudi Arabia, which has been leading an anti-Houthi military coalition since early 2015, launched a project to dismantle mines in Yemen in June 2018, which has so far since removed more than 50,000 mines in the country, including over 5,000 in February and another 6,000 in March 2019.
As part of initiative launched by King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), Saudi Arabia aims to remove mines left behind by Houthi rebels and equip the Yemeni specialists on the ground with the skills and resources necessary to clear landmines.