Yemeni family to Trump: why are US drones trying to kill us?

March 30, 2017

Meqdad Tuaiman (credit: National Organization for Drone Victims)

A family in Yemen is concerned that US drones are trying to assassinate them without charge or trial, international human rights group Reprieve has found.

The Tuaiman family from Ma’rib, Yemen, claim they now live under daily drone flights since President Trump took office. Covert drone strikes under the Obama administration already killed three members of their family.

Trump’s debut raid on the Yemeni village of Yakla, which killed at least 23 civilians, appears to have signalled the start of a more aggressive campaign of strikes across the country.

The Tuaimans are concerned that they are next in line for assassination, under an expanded, Trump-era drone program.

During the Obama Presidency, in 2015, Muhammed Tuaiman was killed by a US drone strike, aged just 13. His father, Salah, and older brother Jalal (17), were killed by another US drone strike in 2011. Injured in that strike was Ezzaldeen Tuaiman, then aged 14.

Ezzaldeen, now 20, still runs and hides whenever he hears a drone, according to his older brother Meqdad Tuaiman. Meqdad is employed as security for the US-allied Hadi Government.

The family are calling on the Yemeni and US governments to reveal any allegations against them. However, they are yet to receive any information on why they are being targeted.

Far from combating terrorism, the family say Trump’s policy could be a recruiting sergeant for militants.

Commenting, Kate Higham – Head of the Assassinations Project at Reprieve – said:

“It is a grave injustice that civilians in Yemen now live under heightened fear of being blown up by US drones, without charge or trial. No one has presented any evidence against the Tuaiman family who have already lost three members, including a 13-year-old, to US drone strikes. This family, and many more across the Middle East, are terrified by President Trump’s mounting civilian casualties and worry that they will be next in line for assassination. President Trump must urgently review the entire targeting program, and investigate the huge numbers of civilian deaths caused so far.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at] reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8140.

2. Research by Reprieve has found that secret attacks by the US in countries including Yemen have frequently missed their target. For example, past US attempts to target 41 named individuals led to the deaths of 1,147 unknown people – often leaving the ‘target’ unharmed.