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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

Yemen: UN says Patrick Cammaert safe after shooting in Hodeidah

UN confirms shooting but says it does not know source of fire

Patrick Cammaert, centre, is the head of the UN's monitoring team in Hodeidah. AFP 
Patrick Cammaert, centre, is the head of the UN's monitoring team in Hodeidah. AFP 

The head of the UN monitoring team in Yemen’s Hodeidah is safe following a shooting, the UN said on Thursday.

Saudi owned Al Arabiya reported that Houthi rebel fighters opened fire on Patrick Cammaert and his team in the Red Sea port city.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman said: “We know that General Cammaert and his team left a meeting and as they were leaving one UN armoured vehicle sustained one round of small arms fire. We do not have information on the source of that fire.”

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WATCH: Video provided by the Yemen government purporting to show the incident

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The UN spokesman said no one was wounded, the UN team left without incident and he did not elaborate.

“We are dealing with a volatile area. This was one incident. We are glad that everyone is safe," the spokesman added.

UN officials initially said they had no information regarding the alleged shooting and Yemeni government officials said they were working to confirm the incident.

The ceasefire deal called for the deployment of international monitors in Hodeidah and the establishment of a Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), chaired by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, that will oversee implementation of the accord.

The news comes a day after the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to extend the ceasefire monitoring mission for the vital Red Sea Port to post 75 observers for the next six months to ensure the fragile truce is held.

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The deal will almost quadruple the number of UN staff on the ground monitoring the ceasefire agreement, made in Sweden last month.

On Friday, Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State, said that the incident should serve as a "wake up call for the international community".

Hodeidah is a vital port for the entry of supplies to rebel-held Yemen. The December agreement halted a long-awaited all out coalition backed offensive to take the city from the rebels. International officials warned that the move would cause a huge impact on civilians in the city as well as those across the country if the port was damaged in the fighting.

Coalition officials have backed the deal for all sides to move towards a phased withdrawal from the city and for it to be handed over to civilian authorities and the UN to manage the port.

Yemeni government minister of information, Mohammar Al Eryani, said that the Houthis tried to prevent the retired Dutch general from attending a scheduled meeting with representatives from the movement on Thursday morning.

“This is a dangerous development, it confirms that the militia are continuing to hinder the efforts of the UN, they also threaten to bomb the peace process based on the Sweden [agreement].”

The National was unable to confirm the claims.

Fayyad Al Numan, the undersecretary of the information ministry, also claimed that rebels attacked the general's convoy and prevented his team from passing through a rebel-held area.

"The Houthis are trying to sabotage the deal reached in Sweden," Mr Al Numan told The National.

The official said the UN needs to firmly "deal with violations that undermine its peace operations".

Askar Zael, a member of the government’s delegation to the UN meetings, told The National that Mr Cammaert had been scheduled to meet their representatives at 11am on Thursday. However, he said, Mr Cammaert had been prevented from attending.

"We ask the United Nations and the envoy to clarify who is obstructing their operations and the Hodeidah agreement", he told The National.

Mr Zael said he had called the UN and Mr Griffiths to clarify the situation.

Updated: January 18, 2019 02:01 PM

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