Political Analysis

Human Rights Watch demands U.S. investigate wedding procession drone strike in Yemen

National Yemen

Human Rights Watch demands U.S. investigate wedding procession drone strike in Yemen

Human Rights Watch is raising questions about an attack on a wedding procession in Yemen that killed 12. Last December, a U.S. drone strike killed 12 men and wounded 15 others near the town of Radaa, according to a New York-based rights group. The bride was among those injured.

The HRW says the attack raised “serious concerns” about President Obama’s stricter rules regarding drone strikes that he announced recently. The international rights group says this drone strike may have violated international law and is demanding that the Obama administration launch a formal investigation, says AFP.

Both Yemeni and U.S. officials claim those killed in the attack belonged to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. However, local witnesses told HRW that all casualties were civilians. Other security forces in Yemen told AFP that some of the causalities were AQAP fighters, while others were civilians.

“All Yemenis, especially the families of the dead and wounded, deserve to know why this wedding procession became a funeral” said Letta Tayler of HRW.

One Washington think tank, The New America Foundation, has tried to keep a tally on the number of people killed by U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, as the official number is unknown and estimates vary. They estimate that roughly 608 to 793 militants have been killed, as well as 78 to 84 civilians.