NewDelhi/Nagpur: Denying reports of death of 20 Indians in Yemen, the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday clarified that 13 out of the 20 reported killed are alive. Spokesperson of the MEA Vikas Swarup, however, said that seven others are still missing.
“We have seen media reports about the death of Indian nationals in Yemen. Indian Embassy officials in Djbouti are in touch with local contacts and we have ascertained that there were two boats one of which was plying between Berbera (Somalia) and Mokha (Yemen). The boats came under aerial bombardment in the afternoon of September 8. The boats were carrying a total of 20 Indian crew members of which 13 are alive and 7 are reported missing,” Swarup said.
The attack on the boats was by Saudi-led coalition forces. The airstrikes were targeted at fuel smugglers in Yemen.
He added that the identity of the Indians is yet to be identified. The Indian embassy is in touch with the boatmen and is trying to verify the deaths.
“No other information is currently available regarding the identities of the Indian nationals. Embassy officials are in constant touch with local authorities and are also due to meet with the boat owner today at which point of time more information would be available,” he said.
The attack on the boats was by Saudi-led coalition forces. The airstrikes were targeted at fuel smugglers in Yemen. The alliance, made up mainly of Gulf Arab countries, has increased air strikes on Sanaa and other parts of the country since Friday, when a Houthi missile attack killed at least 60 Saudi, Bahraini and United Arab Emirates soldiers at a military camp east of Sanaa.
They were part of a force preparing to assault the capital, which the Iranian-allied Houthis seized in September 2014. Friday’s attack was the deadliest yet for Gulf soldiers in the war and may herald a turning point as Saudi-allied countries appear to be committing to a ground war they had so far avoided.