Vicar of Arabia: 'Slaughter of children, all rules have been broken in Yemen'
A raid by the Riyadh-led coalition hits vehicles loaded with civilians. The toll speaks of 43 dead and over 60 injured. Msgr. Hinder: Pervasive "sense of powerlessness" in the face of a "horrific" situation. It is almost impossible to get access for aid and little hope from the UN peace talks in Geneva in September.
Sana'a (AsiaNews) - "All the rules have been broken in Yemen's war, each side accuses the other of violence" and there are no certainties "about the responsibilities"; in the face of this escalation "the sense of impotence and total powerlessness is evident", says Msgr. Paul Hinder.
The Apostolic Vicar for Southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen), was speaking to AsiaNews in the aftermath of the attack on a busload of children, which caused dozens of victims. "However, whoever is responsible for these massacres - warns the bishop - is truly unscrupulous who operated in violation of all rules, even basic, in a war context".
The Saudi Arabian coalition is behind the attack in Dahyan, in the province of Saada (stronghold of the Houthi rebels), already accused in the past of being responsible for 51% of deaths among civilians, including those of children . A bus carrying a group of schoolchildren, returning from a trip, was in the crosshairs of Riyadh's missiles. Commenting on the operation, Colonel Turki Al-Maliki, a Saudi spokesman, has instead called the raid "legitimate" in response to the attacks of the Houthi "responsible for launching a missile" in southern Saudi Arabia.
The updated budget speaks of at least 43 dead, of which about thirty children between the ages of six and 14 and more than 60 injured. The rescuers extracted the bodied of children with backpacks still on their shoulders and wearing uniforms. When the vehicle was hit it was stationary near a market, to allow the group to buy drinks to cool off during the trip.
The International Red Cross reports that the corpses of 29 children, all under the age of 15, are being held in the structure of Saada and that there are 48 wounded among them 30 minors. 36 other injured, including 24 children, were registered at the al-Jomhouri hospital run by the staff of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), all in evident state of serious shock.
An endless violence that is being consumed benath the impotent gaze of international diplomacy. In these hours, the UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has called a new round of peace talks in Geneva for 6 September, but the hope for peace is limited. "The situation is terrible - says Msgr. Hinder - what happened yesterday is the pinnacle of incredible cruelty ". The prelate hopes that "diplomacy will move", but "at least four weeks are left to until peace talks and, in the meantime, the war continues. We just have to hope, and pray".
The difficulties experienced by the Arab country are evident even only "in the effort that is being made to help the population" and in the impossibility of bringing "aid, in money and materials". The sense of "impotence" is "strong", concludes the prelate, who wants to thank Pope Francis "for the numerous calls for peace" in the hope that "they can bear fruit".
The extent of the conflict in Yemen is confirmed by the figures: 20 million people depend on humanitarian aid; 17.8 million people suffer from food insecurity; 16.4 million people do not have access to health care.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report since 2015, the start date of the war, there have already been around 10,000 dead and 55 injured. The situation has worsened in the last period, following the offensive launched by the Saudi forces, for the conquest of the port and the airport of Hudaydah.
The clash between the two sides also includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has rejected every agreement for the UN-sponsored ceasefire that does not provide for the complete withdrawal of the Houthi.