UK condemns firing of ballistic missiles from Yemen into Saudi Arabia

International Development Secretary for the UK Penny Mordaunt sees UK aid for Yemen in a WFP warehouse in Djibouti. (Photo: UK Department for International Development - DIFD/Benet Coulber)
Updated 17 January 2018
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UK condemns firing of ballistic missiles from Yemen into Saudi Arabia

LONDON: The International Development Secretary for the UK Penny Mordaunt has condemned the firing of ballistic missiles from Yemen toward Saudi Arabia and also called for continued commercial and aid access throughout Yemen‎.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Mordaunt, who visited Saudi Arabia and Djibouti in December to call for access and meet aid workers, said: “I heard about some of the heartbreaking tragedies suffered by Yemenis when I met with refugees and international aid workers last month.
“I am pleased restrictions on access have since been eased at the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef, allowing 19 ships to deliver food and critical fuel. This is already saving lives by ensuring hospitals can continue delivering essential medical care, water can be pumped into major cities, grain can continue to be milled into flour and food transported to those most in need.
“But the situation in Yemen remains dire and will deteriorate rapidly unless unhindered access is maintained, especially to the north of the country.
“With Yemen importing 90% of its food and fuel, it’s essential that Hodeidah and Saleef ports remain fully open to help millions of people who are at risk.
“We recognize Saudi Arabia’s legitimate security concerns and will continue to provide support to prevent illegal arms smuggling into Yemen – this does not require stopping humanitarian and commercial supplies from reaching those in need.
“The UK Government strongly condemns the continued firing of ballistic missiles from Yemen toward Saudi Arabia. We continue to support Saudi Arabia to strengthen efforts to prevent the flow of illegal weapons by providing extra UK support to the UN’s Verification and Inspection Mechanism.
“We are also engaging with Saudi Arabia’s plans to develop an operational humanitarian plan for Yemen.”
Since access reopened, 19 ships have been permitted to enter Hodeidah and Saleef ports, unloading 260,000 metric tons of food and over 95,000 metric tons of fuel. The UK is the second-largest humanitarian donor to the UN’s Yemen Appeal behind Saudi Arabia and third-largest donor overall.


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 17 June 2019
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

  • A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation
  • Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.