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Yemen rebels committed ‘possible war crimes’: HRW

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Map of Yemen-yalibnan

Map of Yemen-yalibnan

Human Rights Watch on Thursday accused Yemeni rebels of committing “possible war crimes” and urged all parties in the conflict to protect civilians.

The New York-based watchdog said rebel forces shot and killed two women in the main southern city of Aden last month and also unlawfully detained 10 local aid workers for up to two weeks.

“The incidents, possible war crimes, exemplify the grave threats to civilians in the embattled southern seaport,” said HRW.

Its deputy Middle East and North Africa director Joe Stork warned that “the difficulty of investigating the fighting in Yemen may mean abuses like these in Aden are just the tip of the iceberg”.

He urged all fighters on the ground as well as the Saudi-led coalition carrying out air strikes against rebel positions across Yemen “to take steps to abide by the laws of war”.

At least 38 civilians were killed Wednesday and 95 were wounded, including women and children, when shelling hit people trying to escape Aden by sea, according to a new toll given by city health chief Al-Khader Laswar.

Health officials and a spokesman for militia forces loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi blamed the rebels for the shelling.

Pro-Hadi forces, including military units and militia fighters, have been battling Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels and their allies for weeks in Aden.

Hadi’s supporters have been backed by air strikes from a Saudi-led coalition that has imposed an air and naval blockade on the country.

“Aden’s civilians are already in dire straits, without being attacked, detained, and held hostage,” Stork said.

“Leaders of the Huthis and other forces need to protect civilians, not abuse and terrorise them.”

The rebels have been battling to take control of Aden’s Tawahi neighbourhood, which houses the headquarters of the pro-Hadi Aden TV.

Laswar said five more civilians were killed overnight in “random rebel shelling on their homes in Tawahi”.

A military source meanwhile said that five Huthi rebels were killed in an ambush in Aden on Thursday.


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1 Comment
  • tayo adefemi

    Judging from the foregoing deteriorating situation in Yemen, there is an urgent need for the international community to keep mounting significant pressure on all sides of the conflict, talking about the Iranian sponsored Houthi-shiite rebels and the Saudi-led coalition force backing the deposed president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi on the need to map out a genuine ceasefire deal. The battle for political supremacy and military might between Iran and the Saudi government in the region is to blame for the anarchy in Yemen, and until the pair are ready to sacrifice their prides and forge a common front with a view to bringing an enduring peace, political, social and economic progressions in not just Yemen but the entire region. The pair have been talking tough on the need for a ceasefire, but that call hasn’t been expeditiously and visibly matched up with decisive actions. Since the Houthi-rebels has the backing of the Iranian government, engaging them in a peaceful and productive dialogue should be the sole responsibility of Iran if at all Tehran is holistically committed to embracing dialogue. Maintaining a hard line posture is absolutely not in the best interest of the people of Yemen who bear the major devastating consequences of this ongoing political war. Though the airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in the first place still remain very controversial and highly debatable, but I personally think such action was of necessity looking at the absolute lawlessness exhibited by the Houthi-rebels in the country. We wouldn’t have expected the international community like the United Nations for instance to throw its weight behind such an undemocratic act by the rebels. No wonder the US based Human Rights watchdog has accused the rebels of committing possible war crime against the Yemeni civilians. The earlier all the warring parties come to the roundtable for effective dialoguing, the more reassuring Yemen’s hope for peace and stability. With the country’s humanitarian crisis and fatalities climbing higher on a daily basis, the need to jettison primordial interests or unwarranted political self recognition through war cannot be underrated. The roadmap to entrenching a coalition government is indubitably the magic wand to ending this political unrest in Yemen, and that would of course depend largely on the so called superpowers in the region.