Kenyans in Yemen need help to get out
Haki Africa, a Mombasa-based human rights group, on Friday said it had received statements from at least five families over their relatives in the port city of Aden, where there has been heavy fighting.
The organisation’s Rapid Response Officer Francis Auma said the families had reported to have received distress calls from their relatives in Yemen, with others losing contact.
Nawal Mahuub said she received a call from her three children living in Aden who are confined in a room within the city.
“My son, Ahmed Mohamed, called me on Thursday saying they are in a room. They can hear heavy explosions outside. Please help bring my sons back,” the tearful mother said.
She feared for the lives of her children because she had lost contact with them, sentiments shared by Sawda Omar, who has been unable to communicate with her two daughters and three grandsons.
“I don’t know where my daughters are. I am not sure if they are alive or dead. I request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene and bring them back home,” she said.
Before she lost contact with her daughters, they had told her they cannot access water and food from where they were sheltering.
Mr Auma said a father had earlier recorded a statement with the organisation saying he could not reach his son, who recently moved to Yemen with his young family.
The officer said two other families have received distress calls from their kin from Aden saying their lives ware in danger and they need urgent assistance.
The Yemen crisis has been heightened by the fact that Kenya does not have an embassy in the country.
The Foreign Affairs ministry’s Director of Diaspora and Consular Affairs Washington Oloo said the government was monitoring the situation in Aden through the Kenyan Embassy in Oman.
“We are still consulting. We are monitoring the situation with the embassy in Muscat, Oman. This will inform our action of evacuation. The families should not be worried. We are on top of things,” Mr Oloo said in a telephone interview.
Haki Africa asked the government to act quickly to save the more than 100 families stranded in this country and warned of protests if action was not taken by Wednesday.
The fighting in Yemen is mainly between those loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Houthis, rebels allied to Zaidi Shia rebels.
Both President Hadi and the Houthis are opposed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has staged numerous deadly attacks from its strongholds in the south and south-east, according to a BBC report.
“The picture is further complicated by the emergence in late 2014 of a Yemen affiliate of the jihadist group Islamic State, which seeks to eclipse AQAP and claims it carried out a series of suicide bombings in Sanaa in March 2015,” the BBC report states.
This is not the first time Kenyans living outside the country are requesting help. Last year, many Kenyans, most of them women, were stuck in Tripoli, Libya, for several days after rebels attacked the city.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs later intervened.