Amnesty International is calling on the Saudi-led coalition to immediately stop using cluster munitions after reports surfaced that forces dropped the illegal explosives on San‘a on January 6, 2016. The attacks killed a 16-year-old boy, wounded at least six other civilians, and damaged homes and other property.
Amnesty International spoke to the brother of the 16-year-old boy who was killed in the attack: “At around 5am, he was on his way to the mosque opposite our house in al-Daqeeq district to perform the dawn prayers. We then heard the first explosion. A minute later we heard a series of consecutive explosions in the neighbourhood when the little bombs landed, one of which landed on the roof of our neighbour’s house… My mother found Essa at the mosque door in a pool of his own blood.”
Markings on the bombs’ remnants indicate that they were CBU-58 cluster munitions manufactured in the USA in 1978. The US is known to have transferred 1,000 CBU-58 bombs to Saudi Arabia sometime between 1970 and 1995.
The coalition denies using cluster munitions in San‘a, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, such as the recovery of the bombs’ cylinders and a number of descriptions of the explosions by residents that are consistent with air-dropped cluster munition attacks.
The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions banned the use, production, sale, and transfer of cluster bombs. Although the US, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are not parties to the convention, any use of “inherently indiscriminate weapons [such as cluster munitions], which invariably pose a threat to civilians” is prohibited under the rules of customary international humanitarian law.