New York, September 17, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition’s airstrike on a Yemeni radio station yesterday. The airstrike against the Ansar Allah-controlled Al-Maraweah Radio Broadcasting Center, located in Al-Maraweah District in Hodeida Governorate, killed three employees as well as a civilian in the vicinity of the building, according to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate and Yemeni TV station Belqees.
According to Reuters and the Qatari outlet Al-Arabi al-Jadeed, a coalition airstrike targeted the radio station, with Al-Arabi al-Jadeed citing the Ansar Allah movement, commonly known as the Houthis, and Reuters quoting local residents and medical sources. Reuters reported that four of the station’s employees were killed, while Al-Arabi al-Jadeed said three employees and “a worker” were killed.
According to an email from Yemeni Journalists Syndicate co-chair Nabil Alosaidi, the victims were Omar Ezzi Mohammad, a radio broadcast engineer for the station, as well as Ali Aish Mohammad Youssef and Jamaie Abdullah Musib, both building guards for the station. A farmer in the vicinity of the station, Abeed Heba Ali, was also killed in the airstrike, Alosaidi told CPJ. The Belqees report did not name any of the victims but said that three were radio station employees and one was a farmer.
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
“This latest outrage is further proof of the Saudi-led coalition’s casual disregard for the lives of journalists and media workers in Yemen,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. “Coalition authorities must investigate this attack immediately and thoroughly, and the international community should send a clear message to coalition authorities that the media are never legitimate military targets.”
The airstrike comes as the Saudi-led coalition targets Houthi forces in and around the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, currently under Houthi control and a vital lifeline for the group, which controls most of Yemen’s north and west as well as the capital Sanaa.
At least six journalists had previously been killed in coalition airstrikes since Saudi-led forces started a military campaign in support of Yemen’s internationally recognized government in March 2015. A military spokesperson had previously said during a press conference that Houthi-affiliated media outlets were considered legitimate military targets.