Shock and outrage over killing of at least 140 mourners in Yemen (Podcast)

The killing of more than 140 people in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, following airstrikes, has been condemned by the UN Secretary-General.

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The aftermath of airstrikes on the city of Sa’ada Yemen, in August 2015. Credit: OCHA / Philippe Kropf

In a statement following the attack on the large funeral ceremony on Saturday, Ban Ki-moon expressed his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims.

Matthew Wells reports.

The UN chief called for a “prompt and impartial investigation” of the airstrikes, said to have been carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.

The aerial bombing campaign began in March last year, when the coalition began supporting government forces in their efforts to wrest control of Yemen back from Houthi rebels, who currently control the capital Sana’a.

Mr Ban said that any “deliberate attack” against civilians was “utterly unacceptable” and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

According to news reports, coalition members said they would immediately investigate the case, along with experts from the United States.

The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said the whole humanitarian community was “shocked and outraged” by the airstrikes, which hit a community hall full of thousands of mourners, and injured more than 500.

“This violence against civilians in Yemen must stop immediately” said Mr McGoldrick, and he called on the international community to “exert pressure and influence on all parties to the conflict” to protect civilians.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 58″