March 17, 2017 - 17:33 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - More than 30 Somali refugees including women and children have been shot dead aboard a boat in the Red Sea off the coast of war-torn Yemen, officials said Friday, March 17, according to AFP.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
The refugees were hit by light weapons fire in waters off rebel-held Hodeida but managed to dock in the city's port, an official there said.
The bodies of 33 refugees were taken to hospitals where 35 wounded were also admitted, a hospital official said.
The International Organization for Migration said 80 survivors were rescued and taken to hospital, including 24 in "extremely critical" condition.
"Our confirmation is that there are dozens of deaths," said spokesman Joel Millman.
The port official said dozens of Somalis who survived the attack, as well as three Yemeni traffickers, had been taken to the city's prison.
The rebel-controlled Saba agency accused the Saudi-led coalition battling the insurgents of attacking the refugees from the air but did not provide further details.
There was no immediate comment from the coalition, which has been backing pro-government forces waging an offensive from the south to retake Yemen's Red Sea coast from Huthi forces.
It was unclear whether those on board were trying to leave Yemen or seek refuge there, but the IOM said it believed the boat was heading for Sudan.
Despite a war that has cost more than 7,000 lives since March 2015 and brought Yemen to the brink of famine, the country continues to attract people fleeing the horn of Africa.
Several refugee camps in southern Yemen are hosting Somali refugees, although not in the Hodeida area.