Ethiopians Protest Deadly Yemen Migrant Centre Blaze

The UN on Tuesday called for a probe into a fire that killed dozens of migrants at a holding facility in Yemen’s capital, after Human Rights Watch said it was started by Huthi rebels. The rights group said the detainees — most of them Ethiopian — had been protesting against overcrowding on March 7 when camp guards rounded up hundreds of them in a hangar.

They then fired “unidentified projectiles” into the building, it said.

Footage of the aftermath, which AFP obtained from a survivor, showed dozens of charred bodies piled on top of one another and strewn across the ground. One person was heard crying out in prayer.

The United Nations’ envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, told the Security Council Tuesday that “there must be an independent investigation into the cause of the fire”. He said dozens had died and over 170 seriously injured.

Griffiths said the “extraordinary, horrific fire” had reminded the world “of the plight of the migrant community”.

The Iran-backed Huthi rebels control much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, whose capture from the Saudi-backed government in 2014 sparked a devastating war. Despite warnings from civil society groups, migrants from the nearby Horn of Africa continue to transit through the war-torn and impoverished country, seeking a better life in the wealthy neighboring Gulf Arab states.

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