Helicopter Attack Killed 42 Somali Migrants Near Yemen’s Coast

Attack on boat near Bab al-Mandeb Strait leaves dozens of Somali refugees dead.

A boat packed with Somali migrants came under a helicopter attack
A boat packed with Somali migrants came under attack overnight off Yemen’s coast close to a strategic Red Sea strait. 77 survivors were pulled out of the water. (Photo: Abduljabbar Zeyad/Reuters)

BY AL JAZEERA

Dozens of Somali refugees have been killed off the coast of Hodeidah in Yemen after a helicopter attacked the boat they were travelling in, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Joel Millman, spokesman for the Geneva-based agency, told the AFP news agency that 42 bodies had been “recovered”, after earlier reports on Friday had put the fatalities at more than 30.

Mohamed al-Alay, a local coastguard officer in the Houthi-controlled Hodeidah area, told the Reuters news agency that the refugees were on their way from Yemen to Sudan when they were attacked late on Thursday by an Apache helicopter near the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.



The refugees were reportedly carrying official UN refugee agency (UNHCR) documents.

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

It was not immediately clear who had carried out the attack.

William Spindler, a spokesman for UNHCR, said many of those killed and wounded were registered refugees who had escaped conflict in Somalia.

“We are appalled by this attack on innocent civilians. These are people who have already suffered so much and risked their lives to flee Somalia,” he said.

“They are people who … tried to find security in Yemen but found the situation there becoming increasingly dangerous, with the conflict and the humanitarian crisis coming close to a famine. And now, trying to go somewhere else to look for safety and finding this tragic end.”

Hodeidah, on the Red Sea, is controlled by Iran-allied Houthi fighters who in 2014 overran Yemen’s capital Sanaa and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.

An Arab coalition was assembled by Saudi Arabia in 2015 to fight the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who have fired missiles into neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

The Bab al-Mandeb is a strategic waterway at the foot of the Red Sea through which nearly four million barrels of oil are shipped daily to Europe, the US and Asia.


  • Earlier this week, media reported about pirates taking merchant vessel and crew hostage. But no one care to ask why. What if this was the reason?

    “We were fishing and then we saw the vessel spilling waste in the sea which reached our coast” a hijacker told local media.

    https://twitter.com/HassanIstiila/status/841620657578360833

    • ኣሌክ – Alec you

      It seems that why. But nobody will care to stand with them. Cuz ppl only see what the Media wants them to see. And no one will believe them. And let’s face it, what this hotheads did was a crime. And this “We were fishing and then we saw the vessel spilling waste in the sea which reached our coast” will be seen as a scapegoat for their crime. Instead of taking legal action they chose to act like criminals. And the vessel that was dumping waste, well.. they are getting away clean.

      If they want to stop the dumping waste problem, why don’t they form a security watch that is recognized by their gov. and taking action would be legal against this dumpers. I mean if they really care for their ppl safety, that should be it. Form a small security coastguard.. Kinda like when thieves terrorized ur neighborhood, u have no choice but to form a neighborhood watch group. And when u take action it would be legal. But if they choose to do it themselves, they will get killed, and they will be used for political shenanigans. And more foreign powers will come by using the ‘Pirates’ as an excuse to plunder Somalia.

      • Ebay-Asmara

        Bro alec, if one becomes the satellite country of the weyanus, this is the result. No responsible govt.

        • ኣሌክ – Alec you

          True that, but before they do stupid things like this… they need to think real hard, And if ppl rise together, the gov. will hav no choice but to listen.

      • hailemike .

        ኣየናይ ሓይሊዩ’ሞ ናብ ሕጊ ከቕርቦ። ኣራሚ ስጉምቲ ዘፈጽም ፡ ብሕግን ፍትሕን ዝምእዘዝ ኣካል ወይ ወገን ኣሎድዩ?

        • ኣሌክ – Alec you

          U are correct, but what is the point then.. for trying, when there is no one to back them up? This lads are going to prison for crimes they committed. It was a stupid move. If they want change they need to mobilize the ppl first against their corrupt gov. in a peaceful way. If not, then stop complaining call it a crime. Cuz that’s what it is, when u take ppl hostage.

        • Aaraim

          Agreeeeeee

  • Hizbawi

    Jesus!!!, When is the suffering of the horn of African people going to end.

  • Ras Alula

    This is the dirty work of the so called Saudi-Coalition and your Higdef Government is also directly or indirectly involved.

    • cane libero

      aye baäl agame tegebruwo..dahan ab tv teqatatel..nay bahri guday aymelketekan iyu..neäna gedefelna..wanna bahri..

      • ኣሌክ – Alec you

        Brother Cane, ነዛ ወረኛ landlocked ዓጋመ ዳኣ irrelevant ኢኺ ኢልካ ብእዝጋቤቲ ቀሊዕካያ.

      • Ras Alula

        Northern Star Mekelle

        • MYOB

          Oops lol

  • ኣሌክ – Alec you

    R.I.P.😔

  • Sad!

    It is really sad to see human suffers! When is this suffering end and one feels safe.

    • Dilbert Simpson

      The dirty Djibouti ditator ordered the attack on the Somali ship.

      It is time for ab invasion and regime change in Djibouti.

  • Pingback: Why are Ethiopians and Somalis Still Fleeing to Yemen?()