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Yemen’s Houthis Target UN Employees

Yemen’s Houthis Target UN Employees

Wednesday, 3 April, 2019 - 05:45
The head of the UN observer mission in Yemen meets people in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on April 2, 2019. Khaled ZIAD / AFP
Jeddah - Aden - Asma al-Ghabri and Asharq Al-Awsat
Yemen’s Houthi militias have once again targeted United Nations employees tasked with reinforcing a truce in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

Waddah Aldbish, a spokesperson for the Saudi-led Arab coalition, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the insurgents opened fire on 89 employees of the World Food Program (WFP) and others to deny them access to the Red Sea Mills in the port.

He said armed Houthis surrounded the UN convoy and threatened to target employees and to confiscate their equipment and vehicles. The militias then forced the employees to return to where they came from.

“We saw head of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) in Hodeidah, Lieutenant-General Michael Lollesgaard trying to interfere and stop this aggression by contacting Houthi leaders. However, the militias did not listen to him: Either they turned down his calls or closed the line while he talked to them,” Aldbish said.

Earlier, the United Nations had warned from the dangers of targeting wheat stored in the Red Sea Mills, and they accused Houthis of refusing to grant them access to the grain storage sites since last September.

Meanwhile, Brigadier Sadeq Dweid, a Yemeni government representative in the RCC, told Asharq Al-Awsat that based on the March 30 agreement reached with General Lollesgaard, international experts from the WFP were supposed to also visit the mills.

However, he said, militias prevented the team form crossing the front line, allowing only Lollesgaard to enter. “They attacked the WFP team and they denied them access,” Dweid said.

Yemeni government sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the head of the RCC arrived to the government delegation headquarters east of Hodeidah to discuss the final preparations for the redeployment plan in the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa.

Separately, Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yemany called Tuesday on the international community to exert more pressure on Houthis to implement the Stockholm Agreement that was struck between the two sides in December and to withdraw from Hodeidah and its ports.

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