Somali refugees killed near Bab al-Mandeb Strait

18 March, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Ora Austin

Coast guard Mohamed al-Alay told Reuters the refugees, carrying official UNHCR documents, were on their way from Yemen to Sudan when they were attacked by an Apache helicopter near the Bab al-Mandeb strait.

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

The Shiite Houthi group repeatedly fire ballistic missiles against government-controlled provinces but most of the attacks were aborted by air defence systems of the Saudi-led coalition.

The coalition, which in general controls Yemen's airspace, has not commented on the incident.

Latest UN figures showed that deliberate war tactics are accelerating the collapse of key institutions and the economy, thereby leaving some 18 million people, more than two thirds of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance.

Meanwhile, IOM spokesman Joel Millman said he was unable to confirm news reports that an Apache helicopter gunship was responsible for the attack.

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A boat packed with Somali migrants came under attack overnight off Yemen's coast close to a strategic Red Sea strait that killed 31 people, a United Nations agency and a Yemeni medical official said Friday.

"If approved, this [arms] deal would essentially have President Trump throwing gasoline on a house fire and locking the door on his way out", Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA executive director, said in a statement.

Shabia Mantoo, the Yemen spokeswoman for refugee agency UNHCR, said refugees and asylum seekers were moving out of Yemen and heading north because of deteriorating conditions. Only 14 bodies had arrived at the morgue so far, the Yemeni official said, adding that women were among the dead.

The Saba news agency, controlled by rebels, said the airstrikes took place off the coast of Hodeida and close to Bab al-Mandab strait.

"Our confirmation is that there are dozens of deaths and many dozens of survivors brought to hospitals", he told AP in Geneva. Despite a war that has cost more than 7,000 lives since March 2015 and brought the country to the brink of starvation, Yemen continues to attract people fleeing the horn of Africa.

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