yemen air strikes indian stranded
Smoke billows from a Houthi-controlled military base after a Saudi-led air strike. [Representational Image]Reuters

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Sunday said that it is in the process of evacuating a group of 70 Indian sailors from Gujarat, who are stranded in Khokha port of war-struck Yemen.

"Our Mission in Yemen (Camp Office in Djibouti) is aware of the situation and taking steps to ensure safe evacuation of Indians," MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in Delhi, according to PTI.

At least 70 sailors from the coastal village of Mandavi in Kutch and from Jodiya and Salaya villages of Jamnagar have been stranded at Yemeni port for over 15 days. They had gone to the Khokha port in five boats to deliver cargo, a group of sailors said in Gujarat.

"About 70 Gujarati sailors along with five vessels are stranded in Yemen for around 15 days and they now need the government's help for their rescue," Vahanvatta Association of Kutch and Mandavi president Haji Juneja told PTI.

"I yesterday 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.

The sailors who are struck in Yemen's port are struggling to save their lives as Saudi-led coalition continues its air strikes against the Houthis in the Middle Eastern nation, a sailor struck in Yemen said in a voice message.

"I am an Indian. My name is Sikandar. 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 said.

"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 added.

Indians are frequently getting into trouble in the war-hit Arab nation. Last week, a group of 20 Indians on two boats came under attack when Saudi-led coalition carried out air strikes on fuel smugglers at al-Khokha, a small port near Hodeidah.

While 13 of them survived the attack, at least six were killed. One is still said to be missing. 

The Yemen crisis sits on sectarian fault lines, worsened by a power struggle between Zaidi Shia rebels – popularly known as Houthis – and Sunni Muslims who support ousted president Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. While the Shias have a stronghold in North Yemen, Sunnis dominate South Yemen.

The alliance of the Gulf Arab countries has increased air strikes on Yemen's capital Sanaa and other parts of the Middle Eastern country after at least 60 Saudi, Bahraini and United Arab Emirates soldiers were killed at a military camp in Sanaa in a Houthi missile attack on Friday.

According to the United Nations data, over 4,500 people have been killed in the Shia-Sunni conflict since March.

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