Yemen: Civilians seeking Covid-19 vaccine killed by Houthi explosives

Yemeni rebels continue to block access to vaccine

File photo: Armed Houthi supporters. EPA
File photo: Armed Houthi supporters. EPA

Three Yemeni civilians were killed and dozens injured in the southern province of Al Dhalea when Houthi rebels detonated bombs among those trying to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

A pro-government military source said the blasts occurred at a checkpoint controlled by the Houthis in the southern Damt district on Monday.

"The Houthi rebels held dozens of people who were heading from Damt district to the government-held area of Mureis in the northern province of Al Dhalea to take the Covid-19 vaccine," Capt Fuad Jubari, spokesman for Al Dhalea Military Region, told The National.

"Before noon, the Houthi soldiers in the checkpoint ordered the crowd to move to a building near the checkpoint.

"While people were heading towards the building, three explosive devices detonated, killing three and injured more than 20, among them eight women."

An official in the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health told The National that the Houthis still prevent the vaccine campaigns in territory under their control in northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

"People residing in areas under the Houthi control, especially those who travel to Saudi Arabia for work, come to Aden to take the vaccine," said Dr Zainab Al Qaisi, woman's department manager at the Yemen Ministry of Public Health.

Last week, Human Rights Watch accused the Houthis of adding to vaccine hesitancy and blocking access to the drugs.

"Since the start of the pandemic in Yemen in April 2020, Houthi officials have actively spread disinformation about the virus and vaccines,” said the group’s deputy Middle East director, Michael Page.

"The deliberate decision of the Houthi authorities to keep the real number of cases of Covid-19 under wraps and their opposition to vaccines are putting Yemeni lives at risk."

The internationally recognised government's Emergency Committee for Coronavirus announced on Monday that it recorded 25 new Covid-19 cases in five provinces, including nine in Aden and five in Hadramawt province.

The committee said on its official account on Twitter that 1,202 tests were carried out on Monday.

It said the total number of Covid-19 cases recorded in areas under government control was 6,812.

Published: June 8, 2021 03:19 AM

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