In a confidential report, United Nations investigators said the Saudi Arabia-led coalition carried out a helicopter attack on a Somali civilian boat off Yemen, Reuters reported on Wednesday, July 26.
Forty-two people were killed and 34 injured in the attack in the Red Sea near Hudaydah, investigators who monitor sanctions in Yemen said in a report to the UN Security Council. The coalition has denied attacking the boat.
The UN report said the attack violated international humanitarian law.
Investigators cited in the report said the “civilian vessel was almost certainly attacked using a 7.62 mm caliber weapon from an armed utility helicopter.”
“The Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces are the only parties to the conflict that have the capability to operate armed utility helicopters in the area,” the report said, adding that the helicopter was likely operating from a naval vessel.
According to the report, 11 people were killed and eight others injured in two other alleged attacks on boats in the Red Sea in March. The attacks were carried out by naval vessels or helicopters.
The Saudi-led coalition – which includes Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan – began its intervention in Yemen in 2015, supporting President Hadi’s government’s fight against a Houthi insurgency.
The coalition, the governments of the UAE and Egypt, and the Combined Maritime Forces did not respond to requests for information, the investigators said.
“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. “Attempts to divert responsibility in this manner from individual states to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition may contribute to further violations continuing with impunity.”
Both the US and UK supply arms to the coalition.