At least 31 Somalis killed in raid off Yemen coast

DUBAI – Thirty-one Somali refugees were killed off the coast of Yemen late on Thursday when a helicopter attacked the boat they were travelling in, a local coast guard in the Houthi-controlled Hodeidah area said.

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.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack. UNHCR spokeswoman in Yemen, Shabia Mantoo, confirmed that a number of refugees were killed.

“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.

Mantoo said that refugees and asylum seekers were moving out of Yemen and heading north because of deteriorating conditions.

A sailor who had been operating the boat, Ibrahim Ali Zeyad, said 80 refugees had been rescued.

The spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told a media briefing in Geneva the number of deaths may be more than 31.

“We just got information of a helicopter a

Source: Angola Press News Agency