Families of those who perished in the suspected Saudi-coalition helicopter gunship strike in Al Hudaydah near the Bab el-Mandeb straits Friday are still coming to terms with the loss of the loved ones as both sides of the of the 2 year war deny responsibility.
“People here are angry, they are asking questions and no one is there to answer. The mood is so somber and people are just confused,” Muktar Omr Ahmed a cousin to one of the deceased told Goobjoog News.
Ahmed says his 23 year old cousin Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim who was among the 42 killed in the Friday attack had left home in Hargeisa two months ago to Yemen via Bosaso port.
“He was among those who were now heading to Sudan after a brief stay in Yemen. They met their death Friday. We got reports that Somalis had been killed on a boat Friday and learnt of his death,” said Ibrahim.
Ahmed left behind 11 siblings, Ibrahim said who also lives with the deceased’s family in Hargeisa.
“Another lady whom I spoke to here said her sister sustained injuries because she was on one side of the boat which was not hit but was hit by shrapnel,” said Ahmed.
We did not target
Even as families try to find answers, little information is coming through. A Saudi led coalition spokesman Maj Gen Ahmed Al-Assiri was terse and categorical about the incident. “There has been no firing by the coalition in this zone.”
The Iranian backed Houthi rebels on the other apportioned blame on the coalition. A Yemeni official quoted by the New York Times blamed the strike on the Saudi coalition.
Somalia has called on the Saudi coalition to launch speedy investigations on the incident which it termed appalling and horrific.
Who killed them?
Foreign Affairs Minister Abdusalam Omer told Goobjoog News the situation remained very unclear since each side is passing the buck.
“If Americans say they didn’t kill, and the Saudis say they didn’t, then who killed them,” questioned Omer, adding, “We have to investigate and find answers.” We do not know who killed them and we don’t know why.
Another relative, Hafsa told Goobjoog News her aunt also named Hafsa was also killed. She did however request not to provide further information.
Ahmed said the bodies are yet to be buried. UNHCR Yemen said Saturday they were working with relatives to identify the deceased.
“We are also working with partners to identify and ensure dignified and respectful arrangements for those deceased,” UNHCR Yemen said in a tweet.