7 Filipinos dead in Yemen attack
12 Other Pinoys Played Dead To Survive Al-Qaeda Suicide Bombing
Seven Filipino hospital workers, including a doctor, were killed in a militant attack on a Yemeni defense ministry complex, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.
In a statement published on the Internet by its media arm, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack.
• Senseless Act
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay condemned as “a senseless act” Thursday’s bombing of the Yemeni Ministry of Defense compound where at least 52 people were killed, including the Filipinos health workers.
“I condemn the bombing in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. It was a senseless act that has no place in the modern world,” the Vice President said in a statement.
DFA Spokesman Raul Hernandez said workers “pretended to be dead” to survive Thursday’s assault, which left 12 other Filipinos injured with one requiring surgery.
His toll of Filipino fatalities is significantly higher than the report by Yemen’s Saba news agency, which reported just two Filipina nurses were among the 52 killed.
• Barbaric Act
“We condemn this senseless and barbaric act and we call on the Yemeni government to bring the masterminds to justice and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of Filipinos and other foreigners in Yemen,” Hernandez said.
“Our Embassy is also coordinating with the Yemeni Defense and Interior Ministries to ensure the safety of Filipinos in that country and we are trying to obtain additional information from them with regard to this incident,” Hernandez added.
Binay, the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, also supported DFA’s call for Yemen to ensure the protection of foreign workers amid the instability and turmoil the country is experiencing.
• Yemen Assistance Sought
The Vice President also called on Yemen to assist the kin of the blast victims.
“I hope the Yemeni government will make sure that the families of the bombing casualties are extended all possible assistance they will be needing, particularly in the recovery and repatriation of the victims,” he said.
He also assured the families of the Filipino victims that the Philippine government is ready to help them.
“I ask all Filipinos to pray for the victims and their families. Let us also pray that the situation in Yemen stabilizes so that other Filipinos in the country will remain safe,” the Vice President said.
• Suicide Bomber
A suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into the Yemeni defense ministry complex on Thursday. A second car brought armed militants into the compound, who opened fire on staff.
A hospital within the complex bore the brunt of the attack.
The defense ministry complex was “stormed and attacked on Thursday… after the mujahedeen (holy fighters) proved that it accommodates drone control rooms and American experts,” it said on Twitter.
“As part of a policy to target drone control rooms, the mujahedeen have dealt a heavy blow to one” in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, added the statement by the Al-Malahem foundation.
“Such security headquarters in partnership with the Americans in their war on these Muslim people are a justified target wherever they may be,” warned AQAP, classified by the United States as Al-Qaeda’s deadliest branch.
Quoting survivors, Hernandez said a suicide bomber brought down part of the hospital in the blast.
“Ambassador Ezzedin Tago will be sending Vice Consul Redentor Genotiva to Sanaa at the soonest possible time to assist the victims and to assess the situation there. He will also be helping in the arrangement of the immediate repatriation of the remains of the fatalities,” he added.
• 167 Wounded
Diplomats were also checking hospitals in the area for other Filipino casualties, he added.
Other casualties were from Germany, Vietnam, India, Venezuela, and Yemen, according to Saba news agency and hospital reports.
The agency said 167 people were wounded, nine of them seriously.
The Philippines has almost a thousand nationals working in Yemen, Hernandez said.
They are part of an army of about 10 million Filipinos who have travelled abroad to seek work, earning more than they could get in their impoverished homeland.