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'Supervise Yemen port', Saudi coalition tells UN

Yemen's Red Sea coast has been the focus of fighting in recent weeks [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 March, 2017

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The Saudi-led coalition called on the UN to protect shipping Yemen's Hodeida port on Sunday, after a deadly attack left more than 40 Somali refugees dead.

The Saudi-led coalition waging war on Houthi rebels in Yemen has called on the UN to supervise Hodeida port on Sunday, after dozens of Somali refugees were killed in a boat that was shot off the Yemeni coast.

The coalition called for the Yemeni port "to be placed immediately under United Nations supervision", which is currently under Houthi rebel control.

"This would facilitate the flow of humanitarian supplies to the Yemeni people, while at the same time ending the use of the port for weapons smuggling and people trafficking."

Somalia, which is also member of the coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, blamed the attack on the Arab coalition while calling for a full investigation into the deadly incident.

"We call on our partners in the Saudi-led coalition to investigate the raid," Somalia's Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer said in a statement released on Saturday.

The boat was packed with dozens of refugees, some of them women and children when it was shot to pieces, allegedly by a Saudi Apache gunship.

"What happened there was a horrific and terrible problem inflicted on innocent Somali people. The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen is responsible for it," Somalia's Foreign Minister Abdisalam Omer said on state-run radio.

He said Yemen's internationally-recognised government must also give an explanation for the attack and that those responsible must be brought to justice.

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire in a separate statement called the attack "atrocious" and "appalling".

Yemen's Houthi rebels have also have blamed the Saudi-led coalition.

However, the Arab coalition denied the allegations that saw 42 Somali refugees shot dead on Friday.

"We are also aware of allegations that the attack was carried out by a helicopter and naval vessel belonging to the Saudi-led coalition," it said in a statement.

"We can confirm the coalition was not responsible for any attack on a refugee boat on Friday and... there was no firing by any coalition forces on Friday in the area" of Hodeida.

 

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