SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi girl fires in the air to 'celebrate' Yemen military operation

Advertising

Screen grab taken from YouTube video.

In this video uploaded onto YouTube, a young girl from Saudi Arabia waves a Kalashnikov into the air and shoots while shouting: "We are your soldiers, King Salman!". Behind the camera, the man filming eggs her on. It could very well be her father, though it's not clear. Posted on April 6, the video aims to celebrate the Saudi-led military operation currently underway in Yemen. Viewers appear split between support and anger: "Bravo to her, may God protect her," reads one, while another differs in opinion: "May God wipe out her parents."

Maha Al-Muneef - the head of Saudi Arabia's National Family Safety Programme - reacted to the footage by reminding Saudis that "'violence is punished by the law." He also evoked the optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflicts [OPAC], an international treaty that Saudi Arabia has ratified [Editor's note: The treaty forbids signatories from using children under the age of 18 in conflicts].

 

The operation, code-named 'Decisive Storm', has left more than 540 people dead and 1,700 injured according to the latest count. It was launched on March 25 by Saudi Arabia and includes a coalition of a dozen or so Sunni Arab states. The coalition's stated aim is to put president Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi back in power after he was overthrown by Shiite rebel militias known as Houthis. Yemen has been pushed to the edge of civil war amid fighting between Shiite rebels and the beleaguered president's mainly Sunni backers. President Hadi fled the country at the end of March after Houthi rebels swept into the capital, Sanaa.