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Yemen: more than 80 dead in migrant camp fire | Free press

First of all, there are hardly any details about the fire in a migrant camp. Medical circles have now revealed that dozens of migrants have apparently died. Did the fire start on purpose?

Sanaa (AP) – According to medical circles, more than 80 people were killed in the fire at a migrant camp in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday. Most of the other 150 injured were in mortal danger, the German news agency heard on Wednesday.

Most of the victims are migrants. After allegations that the Houthi rebels caused the fire on purpose, an independent investigation has been called.

The Houthi rebels, who control the north of the country, including the capital Sanaa, have imposed strict rules in hospitals, medical circles said. Representatives and eyewitnesses are not allowed to speak publicly about the fire or the number of victims. The insurgents initially did not comment on the disaster. Information Minister Muammar al-Arjani spoke of a “massacre”. Hundreds of victims were buried in a mass grave to cover up the crime.

The human rights organization Mwatana for Human Rights, citing eyewitnesses, said Houthi guards deliberately started the fire. They kept the migrants in dire conditions and demanded money for their release. That is why a group went on a hunger strike. As the dispute escalated, guards threw “smoking projectiles” through windows. These exploded and started the fire. According to human rights activists, some injured people have been arrested. They do not receive humanitarian aid and family visits.

A video circulated on the internet that should show scenes after the fire. In a burnt-out room several charred bodies lie on the floor, some on top of each other.

According to the IOM, there were about 900 migrants, mostly from Ethiopia, in the camp at the time of the fire. The consequences of the fire are “dire,” said Carmela Godeau, IOM’s director for the Middle East. The case must be investigated independently, information minister Al-Arjani and Amnesty International demanded.

In Yemen, a Saudi Arabia-led military alliance is fighting with the government against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Despite the war, tens of thousands of Africans go to Yemen every year, among other things to travel to the rich Gulf states in search of work. In January alone, the IOM counted the arrivals of 2,500 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia.

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