Condemning an apparent airstrike in Yemen that reportedly killed at least 32 civilians in a market northeast of Sana'a on Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a prompt and impartial investigation into the incident, which saw a death toll that was among the highest from a single bombing in recent months.
According to a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General is concerned about the continuing intense airstrikes and ground fighting in Yemen despite his repeated calls for a cessation of hostilities.
To that end, he strongly condemned the apparent airstrike on 27 February that hit Khaleq market in Nahem District in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, killing at least 32 civilians and injuring at least 41 civilians. The death toll is among the highest from a single bombing since September 2015, said the statement, which added that Mr Ban expressed his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims.
“The Secretary-General reminds all parties to the conflict of the utmost necessity to fully respect their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, which prohibits attacks directed against civilians and civilian objects, including populated markets”, noted the statement, which said the UN chief emphasised that such attacks are considered serious violations of international humanitarian law.
Calling for a “prompt and impartial investigation” of this incident, the Secretary-General also reiterated his call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to engage in good faith with his Special Envoy for Yemen in order to agree on a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible and to convene a new round of peace talks.
Just two weeks ago, the Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, urged the UN Security Council and the wider international community to support the effort to secure a cessation of hostilities and open a new round of talks that could open the way to ending the year-long conflict between various factions, which has already killed thousands of people, displaced 2.5 million and imperiled the food security of 7.6 million, has continued unabated, pushing back the calendar.
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