April 5-11: Students killed by airstrikes in San'a, cholera outbreak widens

Friday, April 5

The Saudi ambassador to the UN is calling on the UN Security Council to “disarm” Houthi militias, citing the Houthis’ stockpile of missiles and drones, and the incident last week in which two Houthi drones were intercepted over the kingdom.

Saturday, April 6

Al Jazeera reports on the cholera epidemic that has made a resurgence and has killed at least 300 people since the beginning of the outbreak. Last month more 76,000 suspected cases were registered. The UN believes this outbreak could be as bad as the one in 2017 that killed more than 3,000 people. Treatment is limited and prices of medication are high. Cholera is spread primarily through polluted food and water, and the conflict only exacerbates the problem. The feature states that it is likely the disease will be contained only when the war ends and reconstruction begins.

Southern news outlet Aden al-Ghad reports clashes between Houthi militias and the pro-government Giants Brigade outside the city of Ta’iz.

Houthi shelling in al-Tuhayta directorate of Hudaydah province killed seven and wounded seventeen people, reports Aden al-Ghad.

Sunday, April 7

A coalition airstrike reportedly targeting a Houthi military training camp in the northeastern Sa’wan neighborhood in San’a hit a residential area and caused an explosion near the al-Ra’ay school for girls. Al Jazeera and Al-Masdar Online report that the Houthi Ministry of Health claimed that nine were killed and around thirty-four were wounded in the raid, with the majority of the victims being students. However, the number of civilian casualties is unclear.

SPA reports that Yemen’s army took control of Jabal al-Ghunaimi, in eastern San’a Governorate, and that coalition airstrikes were involved.

After heavy fighting in Mureis District of al-Dhali’, government forces have seized two positions from the Houthi rebels. The new acquisitions give government forces strategic positioning to launch an attack on the adjacent mount that is held by the Houthi rebels, according to pro-coalition sources.

The Saudi-led coalition claims to have intercepted a Houthi drone over the kingdom that was headed toward Asir city, however, no injuries or damage were reported.

The “Pacification Committee” in Ta’iz, a body leading mediation efforts in the governorate, has asked the Abu al-Abbas brigades to withdraw from Ta’iz city per a recent truce agreement.

Aden al-Ghad reports strained relations between local tribes and Houthi militias in San’a after Houthis killed local shaykh Ahmad al-Sakani, a leader in the Bakil tribal confederation.

Monday, April 8

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK are joining a legal appeal against the UK’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Campaign Against the Arms Trade’s (CAAT) case will be heard by the Court of Appeal in London this week. CAAT is challenging the legality of the arms exports for use in Yemen because of the potential that these weapons will be used in violations of international humanitarian law. Countries that have suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia include Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium (Flemish region), and Greece, and other countries that have implemented restrictions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia include Austria, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia will deliver $200 million in aid to Yemen during the month of Ramadan, according to state officials. This aid is part of a $500 million joint initiative that the coalition announced in November.

The Houthis announced a state of emergency following the spike in number of reported cholera cases. On April 6, the Houthis ordered all school canteens in San’a to close for ten days to cope with the epidemic.

Tuesday, April 9

UNICEF reports that fourteen children have died as a result of the Sunday blast near a school in San’a, and that sixteen others were injured. UNICEF further says that the number of casualties is likely higher than what is being reported. Additionally, occurrences like this may further deter parents from sending their children to school.

Martin Griffiths held talks with the Houthi leadership in an effort to salvage the Hudaydah ceasefire deal. Negotiations are ongoing; while progress on the deal has been reported, the first phase of the of the agreement still needs to be implemented.

The Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile at a populated area in al-Dhali’. The missile missed its target, but caused significant damage. No casualties were reported, however. There has been intense fighting in the contested area between the warring parties over the past two weeks. Fighters from the Southern Resistance and local militiamen are expected to join the battle as the Houthis attempt to retake al-Dhali’.

The Saudi and UAE missions sent a letter to the UN Security Council calling for pressure to be put on the Houthis because of their failure to honor the the Stockholm agreement, 100 days after it was agreed upon by both parties. The coalition also suggested that new negotiations should take place.

Wednesday, April 10

An article by AP reports that in the summer of 2017, the Houthis refused to allow the delivery of cholera vaccines that were due to arrive in Yemen. Because of this interference, and because officials in the internationally-recognized government misused or stole resources intended to fight cholera in the south, vaccination drives only began in the south in May 2018 and in the north in August 2018. Cholera first began spreading in late 2016, and infection rates have now picked up again. Government and NGO officials told AP that both warring parties used resources intended for the cholera epidemic for their own benefit.

The Guardian reports that more than forty Saudi officers have trained at prestigious British military colleges since the beginning of coalition intervention into the war in Yemen. This comes as Britain faces increasing scrutiny for its role in the war.

The Saudi-led coalition carried out two airstrikes in San’a. The targets allegedly included a Houthi drone manufacturing plant and a warehouse that contained launch pads. As a result of the airstrikes, a plastics factory caught fire and a house was hit, but there were no reported casualties.

According to al-Masdar Online, the Saudi-led coalition's air defense system intercepted a Houthi drone near Sey’un Airport in Hadhramawt province.

Aden al-Ghad reports on adult education and literacy programs in the provinces of Aden, Lahij, coastal Hadhramawt, Soqotra and Ta’iz. These crucial programs will see approximately 25,000 students tested in the upcoming final exams for this school year.

Thursday, April 11

Thousands of people in San’a came to pay their respects today for the children who lost their lives in the airstrikes that affected a school earlier this week.

The UAE’s Minister for Foreign Affairs is calling for a new process towards the political solution in Yemen. Dr. Anwar Gargash said the UAE was cautiously optimistic about the Stockholm agreement, but was worried about its implementation. Furthermore, he wants the international community to put more pressure on the Houthis.

SPA reports that a Yemen “stability workshop” was held in Riyadh and was hosted by the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Saeed Al-Jaber. A US delegation and Saudi representatives attended the workshop. Al-Jaber emphasized the bilateral relationship and how stability would pave the way for security and peace.

An article in Al Monitor discusses Russia’s role and possible motives in southern Yemen. The article explains that Moscow has established a relationship with the Southern Transitional Council, but also maintains a relationship with President Hadi’s government and the UAE. Moreover, there already exists a historical connection between Moscow and the south, which goes back to pre-unification when South Yemen was socialist and aligned with the Soviet Union.