"Houthis should stop covering up what happened in Sawan"

HRW says Houthis responsible for blast that killed 15 schoolchildren in Sanaa

New York -Sana'a (Debriefer)
2019-05-09 | Since 3 Month

One of victims of Sawan blast

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

Human Rights Watch on Thursday said the Houthis group (Ansar Allah) responsible for blast in warehouse that killed 15 schoolchildren in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, which has been under the control of the group since September 2014.

The HRW said in a joint statement with a Yemeni human rights organization, Mwatana: " A Houthi-controlled warehouse that stored volatile material near homes and schools caught fire and detonated in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, on April 7, 2019, causing the deaths of at least 15 children."

The statement added: "The massive blast injured more than 100 children and adults in the residential Sawan neighborhood. The groups could not determine the initial cause of the fire at the warehouse."

“The Houthis’ decision to store volatile material near homes and schools despite the foreseeable risk to civilians led to the death and injury of dozens of schoolchildren and adults,” said Bill Van Esveld, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Houthis should stop covering up what happened in Sawan and start doing more to protect civilians under their control.”

“The Houthi authorities need to provide credible information and stop storing large concentrations of volatile materials in densely populated areas,” said Radhya al-Mutawakel, the chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights.

She added: “The Houthis played a role in the tragedy and should hold responsible officials to account and provide compensation to victims.”

The Saudi-led Arab Coalition forces to support the legitimacy in Yemen and the Houthis Group (Ansar Allah) trade the accusing of responsibility for the blast that took place in the residential neighborhood of Sawan northeast of the capital Sanaa on April 7  and attributed the group of Houthis blast to an air strike for coalition aircraft at the time denied the spokesman on behalf of the coalition forces, Col. Turki al-Maliki, those allegations, and said the incident was caused by an blast in a factory of the Houthi for the manufacture of weapons and explosives.

According to the statement Witnessesto the explosion said that they did not see the initial cause of the fire at the warehouse, but none saw or heard aircraft or incoming munitions before the fire began, or at the time of the large explosion several minutes later. Four videos of the blast that bystanders recorded and uploaded to the internet within hours also do not indicate the cause of the fire, but show nothing to suggest an airstrike or incoming munition. Researchers did not observe craters that might have indicated an aerial bomb when they were first able to access the site days after the explosion. No craters are visible in photographs of the area that Xinhua news agency published on April 9.

Yemen has been racked by an armed conflict that broke out after the Iranian-backed Houthis had ousted the internationally recognized government late in 2014.

The conflict escalated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in the country in March 2015 to reinstate the government of President Hadi.

Yemen over 4-year war has triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with most of the population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection, including 14 million people risking famine and some 1.8 million children suffering malnutrition.

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