At least 60 migrants, mostly Ethiopians, died in the March 7 incident at a detention center in Sana’a.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), “unidentified projectiles” launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen sparked a fire on March 7 that killed dozens of people at a migrant detention center in the capital Sana’a.
“Dozens of migrants were burned alive in Yemen on March 7, 2021, after Houthi security forces threw unidentified projectiles at a migrant detention center in Sana’a, causing a fire,” HRW said in a statement. Tuesday.
He said the detainees – mostly Ethiopian migrants and refugees – protested the overcrowding when camp guards rounded up hundreds in a hangar and fired two projectiles into the building.
“The migrants said the first projectile produced a lot of smoke and made them cry and sting their eyes. The second, which the migrants described as a “bomb,” exploded loudly and started a fire, “HRW said.
He added that hundreds of injured detainees were being treated in hospitals in Sana’a where a “strong security presence” had posed problems for humanitarian agencies.
Houthi rebels, who control much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sana’a, have been fighting a Saudi-led military offensive since March 2015.
The Saudi-led coalition stepped in to support the internationally recognized government, which was overthrown by the Iran-linked group. The Six Years’ War ravaged the impoverished nation of 29 million people, 80 percent of the population now dependent on foreign aid.
Last week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) urged the rebels to provide unhindered access to the wounded.
He said more than 170 people were injured, more than half seriously, and no less than 60 killed.
In correspondence with HRW, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said the incident “should not be politicized or exploited”.
“The incident that took place was a normal result that occurs in similar incidents all over the world,” he said, according to the statement.
He called for the lifting of a long-standing Saudi-led blockade on the rebel-controlled airport in Sana’a, so that migrants “can return home”.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced as a result of the conflict in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Despite more than six years of conflict, this poor country is still a magnet for migrants from the neighboring Horn of Africa who seek a better life in the wealthy Arab Gulf states.