From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Sep 19 2009 - 07:12:11 EDT
Ex-opposition leader: Sana'a committing war crimes
Sat, 19 Sep 2009 07:11:02 GMT
Former leader of South Yemen Ali Salim al-Beidh has accused the Sana'a
government of committing war crimes against Shia Muslim fighters in the
north of the country.
Expressing solidarity with the northern fighters al-Beidh on Friday
condemned the army's air strike on a refugee camp which left over 80
civilians dead and described the attack as a "war crime".
Witnesses say many of those killed in the raid were women, children and old
"The Sana'a regime has in recent days brought slaughter upon innocent
citizens in Saada and is carrying out a group extermination that it proudly
called 'scorched earth'," he said, according to the southern opposition
Salim al-Beidh has been in exile since the 1994 civil war which saw the
north under President Ali Abdullah Saleh take control of the whole country.
The former north and south Yemeni states united in 1990.
The UN's Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has also condemned the air strike
and called for an investigation into the deadly attack, which was the second
government air strike resulting in civilian deaths in the space of three
"The government should launch a full-fledged investigation into what went
wrong and take immediate measures to try to ensure we do not see a further
avoidable tragedy of this nature," Pillay said.
In an effort to crush Zaidi Shia fighters, led by Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, the
Yemeni government launched a military operation on the northern Saada and
Amran provinces on August 11.
The offensive has left over 50,000 civilians displaced and UN aid agencies
have repeatedly warned that the conditions for the civilian population
caught in the conflict zone continue to deteriorate.
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