(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 4th January, 2019 (WAM) -- Reports by the World Food Programme of widespread theft of food aid in Yemen by Iran-backed Al Houthis shows the true nature of the militants, commented a local daily.
For years now, the Saudi-led coalition and the Yemeni government have sounded the alarm that this crime is taking place in the country, the Gulf News wrote in its today's editorial.
"While international media often pointed to the coalition's closure of sea and airports, they neglected to dig deeper to understand why this was taking place.
Now it is evident that this was done in reaction to Al Houthis' unlawful hijacking of aid, which instead of going to Yemeni civilians in dire need, went to sustain its war efforts instead," the paper added.
The WFP report also could be the beginning of wider investigation of Al Houthi abuses when it comes to international aid and relief efforts in the country.
"With the Yemen war soon entering its fourth year, the humanitarian situation in the country is at its most critical," the English language newspaper said, and pointed out that some 16 million people face severe food insecurity which makes the need for accountability over such crimes of utmost importance.
The World Food Programme, WFP, has quoted records, which indicate that, during the months of August and September, about 1,200 metric tonnes of food were illicitly removed from storage and distributed or sold to people not entitled to receive the commodities. Other inquiries showed only one-third of the intended ration was being provided to registered beneficiaries in Saada.
David Beasley, WFP's executive director, said, "At a time when children are dying in Yemen because they haven't enough food to eat, that is an outrage. This criminal behaviour must stop immediately."
Finally, an international organisation is coming down hard on Al Houthis, something which has been absent for much too long.
"More international condemnation is needed to call the militant group out on its barbaric and criminal policies at the expense of the Yemeni people," the paper concluded.