Weapons supplied by UK, US killed civilians in Yemen

Foreign BitsWeapons supplied by UK, US killed civilians in Yemen
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by Tersoo Nicholas

Weapons supplied by the United Kingdom and the United States that has been used by a Saudi-led coalition fighting in war-torn Yemen killed at least 87 civilians and wounded 136 others in just over a year, a new report said on Wednesday.

The report by the Oxfam charity found that the Saudi-led coalition used weapons supplied solely by the UK and the US in hundreds of attacks on civilians in Yemen between January 2021 and the end of February 2022.

It claimed that Britain is the second-biggest supplier of weapons to Saudi Arabia, after the US.

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Yemen’s war began when the Iran-backed Houthis seized the country’s capital, Sanaa, in September 2014 and forced the internationally recognized government into exile.

A Saudi-led coalition armed with US and UK weaponry and intelligence entered the war on the side of Yemen’s exiled government in March 2015.

Oxfam’s report comes ahead of a legal challenge by the Campaign Against Arms Trade, a group of anti-weapons campaigners, against the UK government for supplying weapons used in Yemen’s war.

The charity says it provides witness in support of the challenge.

Responding to an inquiry by The Associated Press, a spokesperson for Britain’s Department for International Trade said it operates “one of the most robust and transparent export control regimes in the world.”

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While a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition was not immediately available for comment.

The court battle by the anti-weapons campaigners is years old. The Court of Appeal in London ruled in 2019 that the British government acted unlawfully in selling weapons to Saudi Arabia that were used in the Yemen war.

The court, however, did not order a halt to the exports to the Gulf Arab kingdom.

The report found that airstrikes and artillery attacks involved cluster munitions, “weapons banned by international convention and customary law.”

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The charity counted at least 19 attacks by the coalition on health facilities and ambulances. It said 293 airstrikes forced people to flee their homes.

All parties to the war have been accused of killing and injuring civilians in Yemen’s eight-year conflict.

Overall, the war has killed more than 150,000 people, including over 14,500 civilians, according to The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. It has also created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. (radio Nigeria)

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