Monday, 11 May 2015

11th May 2015, weapons cache in Mount Nuqum hit by Saudi led coalition airstrikes, killing and injuring nearby residents

On 11th May 2015, Saudi led coalition airstrikes targeted a weapons cached in Mount Nuqum, resulting in deaths and injuries of nearby residents.

The following are excerpts from Amnesty International reports which includes interviews with witnesses from the incident:

Airstrikes on weapons depotsMany of the other civilian victims in the hospitals Amnesty International visited were injured by secondary explosions when attacks by Saudi Arabian-led coalition aircraft struck a weapons cache in the Mount Nuqum neighbourhood on 11 May.

Amnesty International interviewed four residents of Mount Nuqum who witnessed the attack and seven others who were injured in secondary explosions caused by the air strikes, including four children and two women. One of the women interviewed said that her son was killed in the same blast that had injured her. Around 40 people were killed in the strike according to the Ministry of Health, although Amnesty International could not independently verify this figure. Nearly 140 people injured in the attack were admitted for treatment at al-Thawra and Kuwait hospitals according to hospital staff and records.

Mount Nuqum, airstrike on weapons depot on 11 May 2015

Ahmad, a resident of Mount Nuqum present during the airstrike early in the evening on 11 May 2015, told Amnesty International that he heard four large explosions following aerial attacks. The airstrikes hit a weapons cache in the mountain which then set off a series of secondary explosions and projectiles. Ahmad said that the secondary projectiles continued to go off until 7am the next day. He said that anti-aircraft weapons that had been stored in the mountain were “dropping like rain” on the neighbourhood. Ahmad estimated that the weapons cache was about 200-250 meters away from the homes in the congested residential area.

One of the residents injured in the secondary blasts was Bassel, a 16-year-old resident of Mount Nuqum who was helping to evacuate women from the area after the strikes had started. He told Amnesty International:

“I was trying to evacuate women from the area just before the strike at 6:30pm. We were in front of the Ghamdan School with our relatives. There were no fighters there. People were running away. I was walking when I was hit. One guy came in a car and took me to the hospital. My mom was also hit with shrapnel.”

Bassel’s right leg was amputated below the knee as a result of his injury.

Amnesty International also met Firas, a four year old who was injured in his home near to Mount Nuqum on 11 May from a secondary explosion, and spoke to a relative who was with him at the hospital. Firas’ left hand and right leg had been injured by shrapnel. His mother, the relative told us, also had a fragmentation injury to her face.

Sanaa’s publicly-run Kuwait Hospital was one of several hospitals where staff said they had to send patients away, because essential equipment had become inoperable without electricity or fuel for generators.

I visited the hospital during a power outage. During the visit, an injured woman told me she had lost her adult son in an explosion in the Mount Nogum neighborhood of Sanaa on May 11. Shrapnel severed his head “like a sword,” she said. The blast had been triggered by an airstrike on a weapons storage facility in the neighborhood.

Action on Armed Violence reported:

Sana'a has repeatedly been hit by aerial bombing and other explosive weapon attacks. Many strikes reportedly targeted military objectives such as weapon stockpiles or checkpoints, but civilians have still been caught up in the wide-area effects of the explosive weapons used. 'We have been emphasizing the need to consider alternatives to explosive weapons with wide-area effects when attacking military targets in populated areas,' said Cedric Schweizer, the former head of the ICRC's delegation in Yemen. 'In the case of the Sana'a munitions depot [an airstrike carried out on 11 May], harm to the civilian population came not just from the munitions that exploded but also from those that that did not, and lay in the street where children could play with them.'

Aug 2015 State of Crisis: Explosive Weapons in Yemen

The following report by The Legal Center for  Rights and Development states that 26 civilians were killed including 4 children and 8 women, plus hundreds more injured including 36 children and 16 women:

This is witness testimony that Jamila received from @__sabahi__ a resident in the area:

This photo was also sent by @__sabahi__who took the picture from a car whilst fleeing, near to Alsabeen Field at 7.02pm that evening:

Ref: 15051102

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