Gunmen kill two Red Cross staff in northern Yemen
Two aid workers registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been shot dead by gunmen in northern Yemen, in an escalation of violence against members of humanitarian organizations working in the impoverished Arab country.
Nearly 4,500 people have been killed in the Yemeni conflict, the World Health Organization said on August 11. Local Yemeni sources, however, say the fatality figure is much higher
A Yemeni spokesman of the ICRC said Wednesday that the two employees were shot dead as they were travelling with two other colleagues earlier in the day in the northern province of Amran.
Rima Kamal said the workers were “brutally killed” on their way back from Sa’ada to the capital, Sana’a, adding that the vehicle carrying them was “clearly” marked with the Red Cross emblem.
Kamal said one of the workers was killed instantly while the other was rushed to a nearby hospital, operated by Doctors Without Borders, but he also died shortly after.
“The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms what appears to have been the deliberate targeting of our staff,” said Antoine Grand, the head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen, in a later statement.
Grand identified those killed as Yemeni nationals, one working as a field officer and the other as a driver.
The attack on ICRC workers came just a week after the organization announced a full stop to its operations in Yemen’s second largest city of Aden after its workers came under repeated attacks and their office there was looted by militants loyal to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
The same militants may have had a role in the Wednesday attack on aid workers as a ploy to force the Red Cross to halt all its operations in northern provinces. The area, which is the bastion of support for the Houthi Ansarullah movement, has been the prime target of airstrikes by Saudi Arabia over the past five months.