Arab Coalition in Yemen investigating civilian casualties

Gen Al Malki responds to claim made by UN's Stephane Dujarric that six civilians were hit during air strike

The Arab Coalition in Yemen has said it is investigating a statement by a UN spokesman alleging six civilian casualties in Shabwa province.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary General, said on Sunday that he was "concerned about a reported air strike by the Saudi-led Coalition in Shabwa that allegedly killed at least six civilians from the same family", the Saudi News Agency (SPA) reported.

Mr Dujarric said attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited by international humanitarian law.

Arab Coalition spokesman Brig Gen Turki Al Malki responded on Wednesday by saying the coalition had not received any information from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) about the reports, as is customary in such incidents.

He said the coalition was looking into the allegation and would take the necessary measures to verify the incident. He said that if civilians had been killed in a coalition strike then it would be referred to the Joint Incidents Assessment Team.

Brig Gen Al Malki added that the coalition applies the highest standards in its military operations in accordance with international humanitarian law, and applies international practices in rules of military engagement, SPA reported.

He said he regretted that the reports of the strike were linked to the UN statement condemning the Houthi militia's executions of nine Yemeni civilians at the weekend.

Iran-backed Houthis carried out the public execution by firing squad in Al Tahrir Square on Saturday. One of the men killed was a teenager at the time of his detention, human rights groups told The National.

The militia said the men were involved in the killing of one of their senior commanders, Saleh Al Samad, who died in a coalition air strike while visiting the port of Hodeidah in April 2018.

Updated: September 23rd 2021, 7:31 AM