Yemen: MSF worker among dozens killed in Taiz attack

Yemen: MSF worker among dozens killed in Taiz attack
A member of Doctors Without Borders was among 21 civilians killed in a marketplace attack in the contested Yemeni city in the first few hours of a ceasefire on Friday.
2 min read
18 November, 2016
Fighting has continued across Yemen despite a ceasefire [Getty]

An attack on a market in Yemen's Taiz has killed 21 people including a Doctors Without Borders aid worker.

Dozens of civilians were wounded in the clashes on Friday in a rebel-held area of the flashpoint city.

It is not known who was responsible for the attack.

"Sadly, one of our colleagues who works as a watchman at the MSF trauma centre in Taiz was killed whilst he was off duty when a blast hit a local market in the neighbourhood," said Djoen Besselink, the charity's Head of Mission in Yemen in a statement.

"Another heart-breaking example of a hard-working citizen affected by this ongoing conflict."

The attack fell in the first few hours of the announced ceasefire.

Facilities run by Doctors Without Borders, also known by their French acronym MSF, on both sides of the frontlines in Taiz received nearly 100 war-wounded, 21 of these were dead on arrival.

Taiz has been one of the worst-hit cities in Yemen's conflict where fighting between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government escalated this week.

The pro-government forces are backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, which launched an air campaign last year to dislodge the Houthis from their territory, including the capital Sanaa.

A US-brokered ceasefire and peace deal has been backed by the Houthis but rejected by the government for giving the rebels a share of power while sidelining the Houthis' rival, exiled President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

In a statement MSF reiterated its call to all warring parties in Yemen to respect the fundamental principles of humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians and medical services.

"What's happening in Yemen is totally unacceptable," Besselink added.

Since 2015, many of the tens of thousands wounded in Taiz and treated at MSF-supported hospitals were reported to be at home, at the market or on the way to their fields when they fell victim to airstrikes, shelling or gunshots, he added.