Yemen air raid 'bombs refugee camp', 87 killed

More than 80 refugees were killed this week in an army air raid on a camp in north Yemen, a camp source and news reports said on Thursday.

Yemen air raid 'bombs refugee camp', 87 killed

More than 80 refugees were killed this week in an army air raid on a camp in north Yemen, a camp source and news reports said on Thursday.

Local and international rights groups condemned the attack, which follows reports of dozens killed in shelling in a market town on Monday, and called on the government to ensure civilians are protected.

A refugee at the improvised camp at Adi in Harf Sufyan said about 87 people died in the raid on Wednesday afternoon.

The source, who did not want to reveal his name, said 87 bodies were buried on Thursday.

"The camp was taken by surprise by the air force bombing them," he said. "When one plane starting firing some people ran towards the water canal, but they were killed when the plane fired at them again."

The independent website News Yemen said 85 people died.

"An air raid hit them in the area when they were sleeping under trees and plastic awnings," it said, citing witnesses. It said the air force then staged a second raid on the camp.

The fighters, who earlier this week posted images of dead and injured from an alleged air raid in al-Talh, accused the government on their website of committing "brutal crimes".

"Humanitarian corridors"

The Yemen Centre for Human Rights, a non-governmental organisation, said it had evidence that planes had targeted a crowded market area in al-Talh, causing dozens of casualties.

"The Centre calls on the Yemeni government, as the party responsible for protecting lives, to order an end to targeting civilians," a statement said, asking for humanitarian corridors so people and aid could move in safety.

A government statement said there was no refugee camp in the area but did not confirm or deny the incident. It has not commented on the reports of deaths in al-Talh.

The official September 16 website reported military operations in Harf Sufyan but did not mention the air strike.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director of New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement: "The Yemeni government should be investigating what may have been a horrific attack on civilians. Civilians should never be attacked."

U.N. aid agencies say more than 100,000 people have fled their homes during the surge in fighting. They launched an appeal in Geneva last month for $23.5 million to help Yemen. Thousands are staying in tented camps in mountainous territory.

Media have had difficulty accessing the conflict zone in Saada and Amran provinces and verifying conflicting reports from each side.



Reuters

Last Mod: 17 Eylül 2009, 17:07
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