Somali refugees die in Yemen attack

Mar 18, 2017, 00:59
Somali refugees die in Yemen attack

More than 30 Somali refugees have been killed in an attack on a boat off the coast of Yemen.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack.

A top official with the UN's migration agency said 42 bodies have been recovered from the attack.

"At present, ports of Yemen must remain open, including Hudaydah port, to allow for both commercial and humanitarian vessels to import much needed food and fuel to avert a starvation", Dujarric added.

Saudi spokesperson General Ahmed al-Asseri justified the attack by claiming the area, Hudaida, is "illegally" under the control of the rebels.

He said the refugees held up flashlights in an attempt to show they were migrants.

The attack drew condemnation from United Nations agencies and the International Committee for the Red Cross, with the ICRC also demanding an immediate investigation.

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Riyadh's coalition against Yemen, which includes Bahrain, began its military campaign against the impoverished countries in late March 2015.

The trafficker says the Somalis were all refugees and that there were women and children among them.

The war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 civilians and pushed the Arab world's poorest nation to the brink of starvation.

Mantoo said that refugees and asylum seekers were moving out of Yemen and heading north because of deteriorating conditions. "It was a gruesome and heartbreaking scene". Only 14 bodies had arrived at the morgue so far, the Yemeni official said, adding that women were among the dead. "We strongly condemn this attack and deplore such a tragic loss of life", the ICRC's director of operations, Dominik Stillhart, said in a statement. "We call on the warring parties to conduct an immediate investigation into what happened".

Hodeida has witnessed severe clashes in the past 24 hours. That came as pro-Hadi forces sought to advance northwards from the port town of Mokha in an offensive to retake Yemen's western coast from Huthi rebel forces.

A September 2016 report by the Yemen Data Project concluded that one-third of Saudi airstrikes hit hospitals, schools, and other civilian targets - figures which Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told the Guardian were "vastly exaggerated".

Two missiles were fired at the mosque, in the Kofal military camp west of Marib, officials said.