Skip to main content

Gunman kills two Yemeni staff of Red Cross

HRW says warring parties in south Yemen have committed 'serious abuses' against civilians and fighters in their custody
Emergency medical aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross is unloaded in Sanaa in April (AFP)

A gunman killed two Yemenis working for the International Committee of the Red Cross north of the capital Sanaa on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the humanitarian organisation said.

"Sadly, two of our staff were brutally killed on their way back from Saada to Sanaa," the ICRC's Yemen spokesperson Rima Kamal said.

Saada is the remote northern stronghold of the Houthis, who have been battling pro-government forces since seizing vast swathes of Yemen earlier this year. The Saada region has been devastated by Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes than began in late March. 

The pair were travelling with two colleagues in two vehicles "clearly" marked with the Red Cross emblem when they were stopped in Amran province by a gunman who opened fire at the vehicles, Kamal told AFP.

"One of our colleagues passed away on the spot while another sustained critical injuries and was transferred to an MSF (Doctors Without Borders) hospital... where he passed away shortly after," she said

The other two were unharmed, she added.

On 25 August, the ICRC said it had suspended its operations in Yemen's second city Aden after gunmen robbed its main office while holding staff at gunpoint.

HRW condemns 'serious abuses' of detainees

Warring parties in south Yemen have committed "serious abuses" against civilians and fighters in their custody, including summary executions, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

The New York-based watchdog warned southern fighters loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and the Houthi militia that they could face prosecution for war crimes.

It accused both sides of mistreating detainees during the battle for the main southern city of Aden, where pro-Hadi forces regained control in July.

Southern fighters have summarily executed at least seven Houthis since March, while the Houthis have "unlawfully detained and mistreated civilians," HRW said.

"Southern forces that have regained control of Aden should end abuses against prisoners and do all they can to establish law and order in the city," said HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson.

"The Houthis need to release anyone wrongfully detained and account for everyone they are holding," she added.