United Nations, May 28: Nowhere is safe in Yemen, the head of the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said after an attack in the city of Taiz claimed the lives of 12 civilians, including seven youngsters– the latest victims of the country’s more than four-year war.
In a statement condemning reported airstrikes on a petrol station in the south-western city on Friday, Henrietta Fore said that the children who died were aged between four and 14.
The attack in the east of Taiz pushed up confirmed child casualty numbers in the war-torn country to 27 in just over 10 days, according to Fore, who warned that the actual numbers “are likely to be even higher”.
Since March 2015, UNICEF confirmed that at least 7,300 children were killed or seriously injured in Yemen amid clashes between supporters of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi opposition groups.
Earlier this month, airstrikes on several neighbourhoods in Yemen’s capital Sana’a reportedly killed five children and injured dozens more, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), prompting widespread condemnation from OCHA and other UN agencies.
The development comes as UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for “caution and restraint” from belligerents, “both in terms of actions and in terms of rhetoric”.
In response to questions last Friday about President Hadi’s reported criticism of UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, linked to the withdrawal of Houthi fighters from Hudaydah, Mr Guterres’s Spokesperson reiterated the Secretary-General’s “full confidence in Mr Griffiths and his work”.
The spokesperson added that a letter to the Yemen President from Guterres also underlined the UN’s commitment to the ceasefire deal agreed in Sweden last December. (UNI)