In-person report from Yemen: Houthis gun down homeless man in Taiz

A homeless man was killed by Houthi militants on the street in Taiz, Yemen, on June 26. In Yemen mentally ill men, known as “madmen,” usually live in the streets with no one to take care of them. They are easily recognized through their appearance and behavior. As seen in this photo of Mohammed, they wear shabby clothes or sometimes go without. They eat remains of food sometimes given to them by strangers or sometimes their families give them food. They sleep in streets whatever the weather.

The body of Mohammed Al-Waleedi, a homeless man gunned down in the streets by a Houthi sniper.

The body of homeless man, Mohammed Al-Waleedi, gunned down in the streets by a Houthi sniper.

Mohammed Al-Waleedi, who was more than 40 years old, was one of those. He was a member of a modest family in Taiz. He was found dead on the street. Witnesses said a Houthi sniper shot him in the night and let him bleed to death! This coldblooded senseless murder was met with a wide public outcry. Many human rights activists asked: “Why do Houthis target obviously innocent people?” They demanded world civil society put pressure on all the parties engaged in the conflict in Yemen to respect the laws of war and to protect innocent people.

YOU BURNT OUR HEARTS BEFORE YOU BURNT OUR HOUSES

Mohammed was carrying no gun and he was not in a battle. He was just a “madman” walking in the street. This crime couldn’t be justified at all and could be considered as more obvious evidence that innocent people in Yemen are in danger. Mohammed’s sister, Wafa Al-Waleedi, posted on facebook:

“What did my brother Mohammed do to have him shot? Vile Houthis! What was his sin? They have already killed Jameel, a child of less than a year, and Mohammed followed him today! Curse be upon your arms and upon your militants who shoot innocent people. Mohammed was interested in freedom. He was unaware of life. He missed comprehending life for many years in Bab Al-Mandab. He was careless about what he was wearing, about food, drink and about life in general.

“Mohammed was too fond of freedom, of walking, writing and drawing on walls and paper. He used to do such things with unawareness. He used to write anything, drawing whatever, on any path or street. He was killed in his favorite place where he usually stayed. He was killed with a bullet that is as despicable as the one who shot it. You, Houthis, have been raising the feelings of hatred inside us by such crimes against innocent people. You, who started the war and burnt our hearts before you burnt our houses. You gave me no chance to say goodbye to Mohammed. You prevented him from coming back home in the evening, as he usually did.”

Wafa Al-Waleedi was so angry when she posted this that she added: “Mohammed wasn’t killed in a battle, he was shot purposely as he was walking down the street. He was killed in the night and left in the street until morning. We are not impure animals to throw corpses in streets. Immorals! We are human beings, immorals! Oh, my poor country in which the pain is growing daily. Neither my father, the disabled man on the bed, nor my mother were able to look at Mohammed for they had emigrated out of Taiz city!”

LIVING IN TAIZ HAS BECOME UNBEARABLE

Actually, the situation in Taiz has become unbearable and is worsening rapidly—according to a human rights report by Ishraq Al-Maqtari, a well-known human rights activist, in a press conference held in the last full week of June in Taiz city, by the Local Observers Network. According to the report, Houthis and their allies in Taiz, from April 24 to June 22 of 2015, have killed 339 Yemeni civilians. Among those killed were 64 children and 38 women; 1,278 people were injured. Houthis have also kidnapped 600 journalists, politicians and human rights activists.

The report also stated that Saudi-led coalition airstrikes resulted in 54 civilian deaths and 22 injuries, during the same period. The number of dead included 11 children and eight women. Reham Al-Dhoubhani, a civilian activist, announced that 675 houses, 554 shops, eight hospitals, 14 hotels, 48 official buildings and schools, 20 mosques and three heritage sites have been destroyed, mostly by Houthis, in Taiz city since the beginning of the conflict between the Houthis and the popular resistance.

–Khaled Al-Hamdani

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