RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition bombing rebels in Yemen denied Sunday renewed accusations of dropping cluster bombs in the country after UN chief Ban Ki-moon said their use may be a “war crime”.
The coalition “denies using cluster bombs in Sanaa”, the Yemeni capital, spokesperson Brigadier General Ahmed al Assiri told AFP.
He was specifically responding to a report issued Thursday by the US-based Human Rights Watch, which quoted residents describing a January 6 attack consistent with airdropped cluster bomb use.
A day later Ban said he had received “troubling reports” of cluster bomb attacks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa.
“I think it’s a very weak report,” Assiri said of HRW’s study. “They didn’t show any evidence.”
He said the watchdog mentioned a type of cluster munition “that doesn’t exist in our stock,” adding that 90 per cent of coalition operations in Sanaa are directed against Scud missile launchers.
“You cannot use a cluster bomb against Scud launchers,” Assiri said.
There has been widespread international concern about the high numbers of civilian casualties in Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition has been supporting Yemeni forces since March against the rebels and their allies, who seized territory from the internationally-recognised government.