The United Arab Emirates has denied responsibility of the helicopter gunship attack on Somali refugees in Al Hudaydah in Yemen which claimed 42 lives but blamed the Iranian backed Houthi rebels spiraling a blame game between both sides in the 2 year old Yemen war.
The UAE news agency WAM Monday quoted a UAE armed forces sources who exonerated his forces from blame noting his forces identified the boat carrying the refugees as civilian and therefore did not target.
Citing preliminary investigations into the incident, the source declared that the UAE Armed Forces had clearly recognised the non-military nature of the boat which was carrying a large number of civilians, the agency said.
“The source said that in the light of this information, the UAE Armed Forces adhered to the strict engagement rules preventing them from targeting any non-military targets,” WAM said.
The UAE forces, the source says investigations ‘indicate the possibility that the boat was targeted by the Houthi rebel forces operating in the region’.
Houthi rebels have since distanced themselves from the attack even as the government of Somalia and families of the deceased seek answers.
Somali Prime Minister Hassan Khaire and Foreign Minister Abulsalam Omer separately condemned the attacks and called on the Saudi led coalition to investigate the matter.
The UAE Armed Forces seek to determine more accurately the details associated with “the unprovoked attack, which resulted in a painful humanitarian disaster”, the military said adding, and “The UAE Armed Forces welcome any independent international investigation into the incident.”
A Saudi led coalition spokesman Maj Gen Ahmed Al-Assiri was Saturday terse and categorical about the incident. “There has been no firing by the coalition in this zone.”