Almotamar.net - Hundreds of Somali refugees who crossed the Gulf of Aden in overcrowded smugglers' boats to Yemen said they had fled the extremist policies of the Islamic Courts movement that controls much of Somalia, a UN agency said Friday.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement that at least 18 Somalis and Ethiopians died during the past eight days and 17 others were still missing after they were dropped from human traffickers' boats off Yemen's coast.
It said those victims were among nearly 1,500 Somalis and Ethiopians who arrived at the Yemen coast during the same period. "Most new arrivals told our teams that they were from southern and central Somalia, where they claim their freedom has been significantly curtailed since the region came under the control earlier this year of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU)," the UNHCR's statement said.
Somalia has been without a functioning central government since 1991. The ICU has taken control of most of southern and central Somalia since its forces seized the capital Mogadishu in June.
"They also cite an increase in inter-tribal and inter-clan conflict and say they fear for their lives," the statement added. The statement quoted Somali refugees as saying that the ICU has ruled that "men must be the sole family breadwinners and that women are expected to stay at home."
Somali migrants often cite insecurity, drought and economic hardship as reasons for leaving the Horn of Africa country.
According to the UNHCR, more than 22,000 people have crossed the Gulf of Aden from Somalia to Yemen this year in smugglers' boats. At least 355 were not able to make it to shore alive, while more than 150 are missing, the UN agency said.
The latest surge began in September when smugglers once again began sailing rickety, overcrowded boats across the Gulf of Aden with the onset of calmer weather.
Smugglers frequently beat their passengers or force them overboard into the deep waters of the Gulf of Aden while still far from shore, sometimes with their hands tied behind their backs.
The Saudi aggression war jets continued on Saturday afternoon their criminal bombing on the capital Sana'a.
The hostile warplanes launched three violent raids on al-Nahdain area in al-Sabeen district for the fourth time within 24 hours after bombing the same area three times at dawn today, a local official said .
The number of the displaced families from inside and outside Mareb province amounted to 7,700 families due to the Saudi aggression on Yemen.
The internally displaced families in the districts of the province reached 6,200 families distributed on the districts of Majzar, Madghal, Raghwan, Serwah, Mareb city, al-Wadi, Harib al-Qramish, Harib Bihan, Bidbeda and al-Joba, the coordinator of the relief and humanitarian organization in the province Abdulkhaleq al-Sharif explained .
He pointed out that the number of the families displaced from Mareb to the capial Sana’a amounted to about 1,500 families distributed on several areas, including al-Hatarish, Bani al-Harish district, Daress, Mathbah, Aser, Shumilah, al-Sabeen and the 50th Street.
Three citizens were killed and other wounded in Saudi airstrikes targeted their house in Bir Basha area in Taiz province, a local official said on Monday.
These airstrikes coincided with other raids launched by the aggression warplanes and targeted Mokha Port and the quarantine premises, causing destruction in the port and the quarantine, the official explained.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has described the Saudi-led coalition massacres in Yemen as horrific, calling for an immediate ceasefire and engaging in negations without preconditions.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow that despite the positive signals made by the negotiations between the Yemeni opposing parties in Geneva last December, but the armed confrontation in this country are still continuing, especially after the Saudi-led coalition announced the end of the truce and resumed the military operations.
" In recent days the media circulated horrible news about the Saudi-led coalition bombing on a MSF-supported hospital in Sa’ada, which resulted in deaths and injuries," she added.
The army and popular committees managed on Tuesday to secure three sites in Taiz province, a local official said.
The army and popular committees carried out a military operation before Tuesday dawn ended up with regaining control over three sites in Addar junction between Nagd Qusaim and al-Misrakh in Taiz, the official added.
At least four people were killed on Sunday when a missile hit a hospital supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Sa'ada province.
One projectile struck the Shiara Hospital in Razeh district at 9:20 a.m., according to MSF staff members on the ground. The MSF staff has been working in the hospital since November 2015.
"The hospital was hit by a projectile this morning, killing four people, wounding 10," In a statement issued by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),
Three of the injured are MSF staff members, two of whom are in critical condition, the medical humanitarian organization said. In addition, several buildings of the medical facility were collapsed.
"The number of casualties could rise as there could still be people trapped in the rubble." The organization said the staff has evacuated and patients are being transferred to Al Goumoury hospital in Sa'ada, which is also supported by MSF.
MSF cannot confirm the origin of the attack, but planes were seen flying over the facility at the time. At least one more projectile fell near the hospital.