By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation
The U.S. Army may have helped train Saudi Arabian forces that likely killed hundreds of unarmed migrants attempting to cross the country’s borders, The Washington Post reported.
Saudi Arabia fell under heavy scrutiny last week after a report from Human Rights Watch found that the country’s border guards have allegedly killed hundreds, “possibly thousands” of Ethiopian migrants seeking asylum from war-torn Yemen. The U.S. helped broadly train the border guard and sold heavy weaponry and combat vehicles to the country for several years, and it’s possible some of those guards who received training were behind the alleged killings, according to the Post.
The U.S. Army began conducting training of Saudi border guards in 2015 and only ended the training program last month, the Post reported. The Army’s Security Assistance Command (ASASAC) conducted the eight-year program within Saudi Arabia’s maritime division of the border guard, focusing training on maritime and infrastructure protection, according to the Post.
U.S. officials and lawmakers are demanding Saudi Arabia identify exactly which border units were responsible for the alleged killings, the Post reported. While an investigation is justified, it is too dangerous for U.S. personnel to travel the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, a National Security Council spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Due to the inherent risk in this exceptionally dangerous border region … our diplomats do not travel to that region, making independent U.S. verification of the HWR allegations difficult,” the spokesperson said. “We continue to urge Saudi authorities to undertake a thorough and transparent investigation and to meet their obligations under international law.”
Saudi Arabia has killed hundreds, possibly thousands of Ethiopian migrants who tried to cross the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
“There are limits to our information as to what’s going on that border, what we can see and what we know,” the official said. “[That’s] all the more reason to have additional transparency and investigation, to ensure that we can understand what’s happened there and make sure that we appropriately address any indications.”
A number of American diplomats reportedly knew about the alleged killings and chose not to publicly address it, The New York Times reported on Saturday. The diplomats allegedly raised issue with Saudi Arabia only after the watchdog report was released last week.