Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed that Saudi Arabian border guards killed hundreds of Ethiopian migrants. In a 73-page report published by HRW, Saudi Arabian border guards killed hundreds of Ethiopian migrants, including women and children, trying to enter Saudi Arabia through the mountainous Yemeni border.
Border guards killed some migrants using explosive weapons and shot others at close range, the report said, citing the testimonies of 38 Ethiopian migrants and four relatives of migrants who tried to cross the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border between March 2022 and June 2023. The report stated that the attacks on migrant groups using mountain roads to cross into Saudi Arabia on foot were "widespread and systematic" and that "attacks continue".
HRW based its report on witness testimonies, satellite imagery showing the location of Saudi Arabian outposts, and 350 videos and photos of migrants injured and killed, but noted that investigators did not have access to the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border region where the alleged killings took place.
"People have told me they have witnessed killing fields," Nadia Hardman, the report's author, said in a statement, adding that since last year there has been a "deliberate increase in both the number and pattern of targeted killings".
Moustafa Sofian Mohammed, 22, one of the migrants whose testimony was included in HRW's report, stated that on July 10, 2022, after a three-day march of a group of 45 Ethiopians toward the border, they were attacked with machine guns and grenades from Saudi Arabian territory and that he lost his left leg in the attack.
Stating that he was rescued by another group trying to cross the border after the attack, Mohammed said he was treated at Al Thawra Hospital in Yemen's capital Sana'a and then transferred to Hallelujah Hospital in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, where his treatment was covered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Stating that he knew only three survivors from his group, Muhammed said, "The rest cannot be reached. Only God knows what happened to them."
An anonymous Saudi official rejected the HRW allegations, saying they were "baseless and not based on reliable sources".In 2022, Saudi authorities also strongly denied allegations made by UN officials last year that border guards were systematically killing migrants.
United Nations (UN) Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric reacted to the allegations that migrants were killed at the border with Saudi Arabia and said, "It is unacceptable to try to stop migration using weapons."
In October 2022, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial or Arbitrary Executions wrote to Saudi authorities that the UN had received reports of the "systematic" killing of 430 migrants at the border on at least 16 occasions between January 1 and April 30.
Source: Anadolu Agency