Dozens of Somali Migrants Shot Dead on Boat in Red Sea
Dozens of Somali Migrants Shot Dead on Boat in Red Sea
The refugees were reportedly on their way from Yemen to Sudan
19 March, 2017, 00:06
At least 33 Somali refugees were killed and 29 others wounded when a total of 150 refugees traveling in a boat off the Yemeni coast came under an air attack, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Sanaasaid on Friday.
"The attack took place in the Red Sea off Yemen, late Thursday", IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a news conference in Geneva.
"UNHCR is appalled by this tragic incident, the latest in which civilians continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of conflict in Yemen", a spokesperson for the United Nations refugee agency said.
Despite violence that has left more than 10,000 people dead and 17 million facing starvation, African migrants seeking work in Saudi Arabia have continued using Yemen as a transit point.
The International Organisation for Migration said 80 survivors were rescued and taken to the hospital, including 24 in "extremely critical" condition.
According to the IOM, witnesses have given conflicting accounts of whether a helicopter or a motorized military vessel opened fire on the boat.
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Local reports suggest attack was carried out by Saudi-led Coalition helicopters. The coalition, which in turn accuses the rebels of smuggling weapons in small boats, has been heavily bombarding the coast around Hodeida.
Two security officials in the Yemeni capital, which is controlled by Houthi rebels battling a Saudi-led coalition, said the attack was carried out by a coalition Apache helicopter.
"We are distressed by this incident and understand that refugees were travelling in a vessel off the coast of Hodeidah which was reportedly impacted during the course of hostilities", she told Reuters by telephone. "These are people who have already suffered so much and risked their lives to flee Somalia", he said.
The Houthis have been controlling northern Yemen, including Hodeida, after they ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in late 2014.
The Hodeida province has been subjected to airstrikes over the last two years since a Saudi-led coalition joined the country's ongoing civil war in support of Yemen's government, leading airstrikes against rebel forces in the city.
"We are appalled by this attack on innocent civilians". Al Arbyia reported that the strike killed 34 persons, including civilians and military personnel.
The official said that dozens of Somalis who survived, as well as three Yemeni traffickers, were taken to the city's prison. A Yemeni medical official in Hodeida said only 14 bodies had arrived so far, adding that women were among the dead.
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