A private hospital was looted and damaged in Taiz in recent clashes between protesters and Saleh loyalists, according to eyewitness. Some of the doctors working at the hospital were detained for hours. Wounded patients and deadd bodies littered the streets of Freedom Square for hours as the hospital was under attack, according to pro-democracy protesters.
The anti-government protest that began in Taiz’s Freedom Square was attacked for three consecutive days. Video footage taken during the fighting showed snipers in military and civilian clothes killing protesters at random.
In the most violence attack since nationwide protesters began in January, Al-Safwa hospital, located inside the protest square and only five meters away from the main stage, was also attacked.
The owners of the hospital were unwilling to speak to the press for fear of reprisals. Doctors working in the hospital are still detained after being arrested for speaking to the press.
“It’s the first of its kind, never before has a nation’s military looted a vandalized a hospital,” said Dr. Waleed Hamud from Al-Safwa hospital.
“Yesterday, I tried to reach the hospital around 11:30 to check on my patients. When I arrived, I found that some of the doctors has been arrested and detained. Others fled when the attack on the hospital first began,” he explained.
Dr. Hamud said that when he first arrived to the hospital, he found the medical equipment broken and strewn about the ground and patients with treatable wounds in critical conditions.
“When I got in I found an old man in the ICU who was not being treated,” he said.
Plainclothes gunmen and soldiers looted expensive medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Pieces of equipment that were too large to carry were destroyed.
“They took everything. They even broke into the treasury and stole the hospital’s money,” said Dr. Hamud.
Protesters told the Yemen times that bodies littered the streets. Doctors said that some of the bodies were taken by soldiers.
UN human rights head Navi Pillay condemned the intense use of force against anti-government protestors in Yemen, which has reportedly led to dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries caused by the use of live ammunition over the past few days.
Pillay said the UN human rights office has received reports that more than 50 people have been killed since Sunday in Taiz by the Yemeni Regular Army, the Republican Guards and other Government-affiliated elements who destroyed the protest camp in Freedom Square using water cannons, bulldozers and live ammunition.
Reports indicate that hundreds more have been injured. “Such reprehensible acts of violence and indiscriminate attacks on unarmed civilians by armed security officers must stop immediately,” the High Commissioner said. “I urge all sides to cease the use of force and I remind the Government of its responsibility to ensure that the fundamental human rights of its citizens are protected.”
Pillay also noted reports that security forces had occupied Al-Safa hospital in Taiz, that the field clinic in Freedom Square had been burned and that there was little or no access to emergency medical care.
“Adequate humanitarian access must be provided to all who need it the Government is obliged to ensure this,” she said. “Medical staff and facilities must never be targeted by security forces.”
At least 100 individuals are believed to have been arrested over the weekend in Taiz, while dozens of others are unaccounted for. The High Commissioner called on the Government to investigate cases of disappearances and the many reports her staff have received of ill-treatment, torture and killings, and to bring perpetrators to justice.
“The Government must not resort to arbitrary and illegal arrests,” Pillay said.
“Individuals detained for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and expression should be released without delay.”