UN confirms attack on Yemen envoy and urges investigation

UN confirms attack on Yemen envoy and urges investigation
The UN's special envoy to Yemen came under Houthi fire in a recent trip to the capital Sanaa, further weakening the prospect of peace talks.
2 min read
25 May, 2017
The UN convoy came under fire as it left Sana'a international airport [Photo MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP]
Ismail Ould Cheikh, the UN's special envoy to Yemen, came under fire on Tuesday as his convoy was entering the Houthi-held capital, Sanaa, the UN has confirmed.

"It is the responsibility of the local authorities to ensure the safety of all UN personnel in the country and [the UN representative] urged them to investigate the incident, hold those responsible to account, and prevent any such incidents in the future," a note to journalists said.

The local Houthi-controlled news agency Saba denied that the convoy came under attack.

Houthi officials affirmed that shots were fired into the air to disperse a crowd of protesters allegedly blocking the road. They were asking for the blockade to be lifted and the salaries of civil servants paid. 

The General People's Congress - the party of the ousted President Saleh, who is allied to the Houthis, also condemned the attack and called for an investigation.

In April, the UN had hoped a new round of peace talks could begin before the month of Ramadan, due to begin on Saturday May 27, but time has now run out on that deadline. 

Two years of conflict between the Houthi/Saleh alliance and the Saudi-led coalition backing the internationally recognised government has led to a death toll of more than 10,000, and a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation.

The country is gripped by a new cholera outbreak, which has led to hundreds of deaths and more than 30,000 new suspected cases. 

Follow Paola Tamma on Twitter: @paola_tamma