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70 sailors from Gujarat stranded in war-torn Yemen, MEA ‘working on evacuation’

The men have been stuck for over 15 days now at Khokha port in Yemen where they had gone to deliver cargo. This comes days after six Indians, most of them from Gujarat, were killed following air strikes in the Arab country.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi/ahmedabad | Updated: September 14, 2015 7:41:08 am
Yemen, Yemen air strikes, Yemen Indians People walk past a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen. (Source: PTI)

India said Sunday that it is taking steps to ensure safe evacuation of its nationals from Yemen after a sailors’ group claimed that 70 seamen from Gujarat are stranded in the war-torn country.

Officials spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs’ Vikas Swarup said on Sunday, “Our mission in Yemen (camp office in Djibouti) is aware of the situation and taking steps to ensure safe evacuation of Indians.”

Nearly 70 seamen from the coastal village of Mandavi in Kutch and from Jodiya and Salaya villages of Jamnagar have been stuck for over 15 days at Khokha port in Yemen where they had gone to deliver cargo in five boats, a sailors’ group in Gujarat said, appealing to the government to rescue them.

This came days after six Indians, most of them from Gujarat, were killed when their boat was hit by Saudi-led air strikes in the Arab country.

“About 70 Gujarati sailors along with five vessels are stranded in Yemen for around 15 days and they now need the government’s help,” Haji Juneja, president of Vahanvatta Association of Kutch and Mandavi, told PTI. “Yesterday I wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs urging them to save our sailors or shift them to a safer place.”

“The sailors are in a pitiable condition as some forces have been bombarding them. They escaped death last night when some force, either of the insurgents or the Saudi coalition, began an attack with rocket launchers,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the stranded sailors, identified as Sikandar from Mandavi village, sent an audio message in which he said that they came under a bomb attack Saturday night. “We are at Khokha port. They have lobbed three rockets and we somehow managed to save ourselves. We are running here and there to save ourselves,” Sikandar says in the message.

“We are 70 Indians stranded here along with five ships. They have been bombarding us with warplanes. Please help us. We are Indians. We are in great difficulty. They will kill us. Please save us,” he said

Yemen has been facing a civil war-like situation with Shiite rebels clashing with pro-government forces. UN estimates that over 4,500 people have been killed in the conflict since March.

(With PTI inputs)

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