Amnesty International Finds Evidence Of Saudi Using UK, US, Brazilian Cluster Munitions In Yemen

  • Our Bureau
  • 11:24 AM, May 25, 2016
  • 17400
Amnesty International Finds Evidence Of Saudi Using UK, US, Brazilian Cluster Munitions In Yemen
The remains of the body of a UK-manufactured BL-755 cluster bomb in Hajjah in northern Yemen (Image: Amnesty International)

Saudi Arabia-led coalition has used different types of cluster munitions manufactured by US, UK and Brazil in their attack in Yemen, according to Amnesty International.

Amnesty International claims to have found evidence of US, UK and Brazilian cluster munitions used by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces. The use of cluster bombs is banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, to which the UK is a State Party.

Coalition forces have used UK-manufactured BL-755 cluster munitions in Yemen. The BL-755 was manufactured by Hunting Engineering Ltd in the 1970s. This variant, designed to be dropped from the UK Tornado fighter jet, contains 147 submunitions designed to penetrate 250mm of armour while at the same time breaking into more than 2,000 fragments which act as an anti-personnel weapon. The weapon is known to be in the stockpiles of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Amnesty International said in a report published Monday,

Up to this point, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has not formally confirmed its use of cluster munitions. However, in an interview with CNN on 11 January 2016, the spokesperson of the coalition’s military forces, General Ahmed al-Asiri, categorically denied that the coalition had used cluster munitions in attacks anywhere in Yemen other than in one instance, describing the use of air-dropped CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons on a military target in Hajjah in April 2015.

“The centre’s clearance work was suspended pending an investigation into the men’s deaths, but that he believed the deaths were caused by one of the men’s failure to take adequate precautions in moving the submunitions and his proximity to his colleagues when doing so. He blamed the men’s inadequate training and lamented the ineffectiveness and age of their equipment,” the Director of YEMAC, Ahmed Yahya Alawi was quoted as saying by Amnesty International.

“[Different] types of cluster munitions have been used [by the coalition] but we have only worked with four of the types before. We were surprised by the new kind. They are more sensitive… It is difficult to get explosives to detonate the bombs but storing them is dangerous” he said. “We need to bring in trainers from the countries that made the weapons to train the employees… [and] we are looking for better technology to destroy these bombs.”

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