Yemen's Prime Minister accuses UK of war crimes

'They are participating in the bombing of Yemen people,' says Yemeni Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Habtour

May Bulman
Tuesday 13 December 2016 20:00
Yemen's prime minister accuses UK of war crimes

The new Prime Minister of the rebel Houthi government in Yemen has accused the UK of war crimes.

It comes amid reported discoveries of Britain-made weapons in bombed parts of the country.

Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Habtour claimed the UK Government cared more about making profits from arms sales than the humanitarian crisis enveloping his country.

Mr Habtour told Sky News: “They have sold cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. They know the Saudis are going to drop them on Yemen [...] in Saadah and in Sana'a and other provinces.

"I don't think they are guilty of war crimes, I believe so. They are participating in the bombing of Yemen people."

British Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting Gulf leaders during the annual two-day Gulf Cooperation Council where she has discussed regional issues including the situations in Yemen and Syria and the perceived regional threat posed by Iran

Sky reported that a soldier had told them the army had found a number of UK-made cluster bombs and showed photos of British cluster bombs he said had been found in fields in the city, which have been shared widely locally.

A resident of Sa'adah, a city located on the border of Saudi Arabia which has seen some of the worst bombing of the civil war, was also recorded saying: “First we thought Britain was a first, but now we feel the British Government are criminals, because of what’s happening here.

“They’re committing crime: killing children and pregnant women.”

Britain agreed to stop using and selling cluster bombs around six years ago, and in June Defence Secretary Michael Fallon denied that any UK-supplied cluster munitions had been used in the current conflict.

Saida Ahmad Baghili, 18, suffers from severe acute malnutrition and is among around half of Yemen's 28 million ppoulation who are “food insecure” ( REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad)

Nearly two years of war between a Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Iran-allied Houthi movement has worsened the plight of millions of Yemenis.

Even before the start of the conflict in March 2015, Yemen was suffering a humanitarian crisis, including widespread hunger that was brought on by decades of poverty and internal strife.

Around half of Yemen's 28 million people are “food insecure”, according to the United Nations, and seven million of them do not know where they will get their next meal.

In total more than 10,000 people are reported to have been killed and nearly 37,000 wounded during the Yemeni civil war.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments