Monday, May 16

Guterres “condemns Saudi-led coalition air strikes on a prison” in Yemen (statement)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday condemned an airstrike by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that left at least 70 dead in a prison and disrupted telecommunications.

Guterres “reminds all parties that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international humanitarian law,” the UN said in a statement.

The strong and unusual tone of the UN head towards Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates contrasts with his statement on Tuesday when he had limited himself to “deploring” the previous deadly air strikes by this coalition, unleashed in retaliation for attacks by the Houthi rebels. against the Emirates that left three dead and six civilians injured.

In a press conference prior to the statement, Guterres considered that the Houthis, backed by Iran, made “a serious mistake” by refusing to receive their emissary for Yemen, Hans Grundberg.

A few hours earlier, on Thursday night, the coalition, which has been intervening since 2015 in the war-torn country, claimed responsibility for a bombing in the city of Hodeida (west), which according to an NGO cost the lives of three children.

Saudi Arabia leads the military coalition of Muslim countries, including the United Arab Emirates, that supports Yemeni government forces against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

In the middle of the night, an airstrike hit a prison in Sa’ada, a Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen.

At least 70 people died and 138 were injured, according to the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which denounced the “horrible” attack.

An MSF spokesman said that “searches are still being carried out in the rubble of the prison”.

It was not immediately clear who and how many Sa’ada prisoners were. But eight NGOs, including Action Against Hunger, Oxfam and Save the Children, reported in a joint statement that migrants were among the deceased and denounced the “flagrant indifference” towards the lives of civilians.

prh / pmh / bfm / mr / cjc