United Arab Emirates forces failed to provide humanitarian support to Somali migrants as they battled for their lives after a Saudi-led coalition gunship attack in March, a UN report has said laying blame on the coalition for the deaths.
In a report to the UN Security Council, investigators found the Saudi-led coalition culpable and wondered why, despite their knowledge the vessel under attack was civilian the UAE military did not offer aid emergency support.
“If Emirates naval forces were in the area, they could have helped the wounded or seen who attacked them. They did not help, nor did they cooperate with the panel when it requested for information,” the panel of investigators said.
The investigators also took noted of attempts by member states of trying to shield themselves from blame by hiding under the cover of the coalition.
“Some individual member states of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition seek to hide behind ‘the entity’ of the coalition to shield themselves from state responsibility for violations committed by their forces,” the investigators said.
Though they did not mention the states by name, the investigators noted, “Attempts to divert responsibility in this manner from individual states to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition may contribute to further violations continuing with impunity.”
The coalition made up of Saudi Arabia Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan, Senegal, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE has in the past denied any involvement in the killings and so did the Houthi rebels.
The report said it was definite the weapons used during the March 16 attack on a boat carrying 145 Somali migrants in Al Hudaydah off the coast of Yemen was not from the Houthi rebels as they did not have the capability to possess weapons of such caliber.
“The fatal shots were probably fired from a machine gun or minigun, a type of rotary machine gun, on a helicopter most likely operating from a naval vessel,” the 185 page report said.
“The Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces are the only parties to the conflict that have the capability to operate armed utility in the area,” the panel said.