Four months ago, a ship full of Somali refugees transiting to Sudan by way of Yemen came under sustained attack from a ship and a helicopter. Dozens of refugees were killed, and many more were injured. As I said at the time, Saudi-led coalition forces were the only ones that could have carried out the attack. Nonetheless, their members denied involvement. This week, the U.N. has released a report on its investigation into the attack, and they confirmed that the coalition was responsible:
U.N. investigators accused a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition of carrying out a deadly March attack on a Somali migrant boat off Yemen and said the alliance had become a cover for some states to avoid individual blame, according to a confidential report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
It is good that the investigation has confirmed the coalition’s responsibility, but from the beginning it was the only explanation that made any sense. Not only were the coalition forces the only ones with the means to carry out a helicopter attack on the ship, but they have demonstrated a pattern of flagrant disregard for civilian lives consistent with the nature of the attack. It was quite easy to believe that coalition forces attacked a boat full of civilians because their forces have repeatedly targeted civilian areas and sites throughout the war on Yemen, and they did so again here. The slaughter of the Somali refugees is just one more confirmed example of the coalition’s wanton violations of international law, and it is part of the terrible cost imposed on civilians by their blockade.