The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, have strongly condemned Wednesday’s deadly attack on Aden airport, which is reported to have resulted in the deaths of at least 26 people, and injured more than 50.
According to media reports, loud explosions and gunfire were heard at the airport and clouds of smoke were seen shortly after a plane from Saudi Arabia landed, carrying members of the country’s new government. The passengers are reported to have been safely transferred to the presidential palace.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Mr. Guterres expressed his condemnation of the "deplorable attack" whilst, in a separate statement, Mr. Griffiths strongly condemned the attacks, and "the killing and injury of many innocent civilians". Both senior officials offered their sincere condolences and solidarity to all who lost loved ones.
UN Secretary-General @antonioguterres condemns the deplorable attack on #Aden airport shortly after the arrival of the newly formed Yemeni cabinet. He extends his profound condolences to the families of the victims & to the people and Government of #Yemen. https://t.co/jtvcOyzzgz— @OSE_Yemen (@OSE_Yemen) December 30, 2020
"I wish the Cabinet strength in facing the difficult tasks ahead", continued Mr, Griffiths's statement. "This unacceptable act of violence is a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace."
Mr, Guterres reitaretd the steadfast commitment of the United Nations to support efforts to resume a Yemeni-led and Yemeni-owned political process to reach an inclusive, negotiated settlement to the conflict.
A people caught in the crossfire
Yemen, the Arab world’s most impoverished nation, has been riven by conflict since 2015, when fighting erupted between a Saudi-backed coalition supporting the internationally-recognized Government and the Houthi rebel group known formally as Ansar Allah.
Figures released by the UN humanitarian office, OCHA, in early December, suggest that more than 230,000 Yemenis have died due to the war, the majority – some 131,000 – through indirect causes such as lack of food, health services and infrastructure. Over 3,000 children have been killed, and 1,500 civilian casualties have been reported in the first nine months of this year.
The attack on Aden airport is an ominous sign of the scale of challenges facing the Yemeni authorities, which have been forced to work mainly in exile, from Saudi Arabia.
It comes after a period of relative calm, and months of negotiations aimed at bringing about a peace deal, mediated by the Office of the Special Envoy.