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Monday, March 30, 2015, Chaitra 16, 1421 BS, Jamadius Sani 8, 1436 Hijr

Bangladeshis in war-torn Yemen call for help
Govt working on evacuation of nationals
Published : Monday, 30 March, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 104
Saleem Samad
Against the backdrop of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call for a peaceful solution to the Yemeni crisis, hundreds of foreign nationals including Bangladeshis are trying to flee the Yemeni capital Sana'a.
Hundreds of UN staff and other foreigners working in embassies in the Yemeni capital have been evacuated from their missions, as Saudi Arabia-led military airstrikes against Yemen's Houthi rebels intensify.
Scores of Bangladeshis have either fled Sana'a or are stranded in the capital but have been displaced from their place of residence, since the airstrikes began on March 26.
In the absence of foreign diplomats based in Yemen, foreigners including Bangladeshis are fearful of their safety in the war-torn country.
Two Bangladeshi engineers Golam Mostafa and Sirajul Haque are stranded in Yemen and have sought help from the Bangladesh government to evacuate them. The engineers are now holed up in hotels in Sana'a.
Mostafa sent email to different news media on Sunday seeking help. Bangladesh does not have any mission in Yemen. He said that there is fear of deterioration of the armed conflict since he arrived in Yemen a month ago.
There were no commercial flights due to the daily airstrikes, Mostafa said in his email.
A Foreign Ministry official in Dhaka said that they are trying to identify the number of stranded Bangladeshi in Sana'a and would make all preparations to evacuate them.
However, the official could not state the number of Bangladeshis in Yemen and is not aware in what condition they are now living in Sana'a.
Last week, the Saudi Arabia-led 10 countries of Gulf and Arab coalition began joint air raids against Iran-backed Yemeni rebels who seized the capital in an attempt to restore power to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has fled the capital.
The UN mission in Sana'a said that around 200 foreigners have left the capital fearing that the airstrikes by Saudi Arabia may further escalate the civil war.
UN Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar was also to depart Sana'a for the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where leaders of the Arab League have gathered for a summit.
Yemen President Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries. The Yemeni parliament did not approve his resignation.
Gradually, as the Yemeni government failed to provide security and properly run the affairs of the country, the Ansarullah fighters started to take control of state matters to contain corruption and terror.
Hadi fled Aden to the Saudi capital city of Riyadh after Ansarullah revolutionaries advanced toward Aden, where he had sought to set up a rival power base and withdrew his resignation.
The Houthis, however, say Hadi lost his legitimacy as president of the country after he escaped the capital in February.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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