Gunmen storm retirement home in Yemen, kill 16

05 March 2016

Gunmen in southern Yemen yesterday stormed a retirement home run by a charity established by Mother Teresa and killed 16 people, including four Catholic nuns, according to officials and witnesses.

The killings started with the two gunmen surrounding the home for the elderly in Aden. They were joined by four others who entered the building on the pretext of wishing to see their mothers at the facility, according to the charity, Yemeni security officials and witnesses. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media, AFP reported.

The gunmen then went around handcuffing the victims before shooting them in the head. Locals rescued a nun who survived by hiding inside a fridge in a storeroom after hearing a Yemeni guard shouting, "run, run."

Khaled Haidar, who spoke to AP, said he counted 16 bodies, including that of his brother, Radwan. They had all been shot in the head and were handcuffed. He added that apart from the four nuns, one Yemeni cook, and Yemeni guards were among those killed.

According to Sunita Kumar, a spokeswoman for the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, the members of the charity were "absolutely stunned" at the killing.

The charity runs the home in the city of Aden, which has been rocked by violence after the re-capture of the city by a Saudi-led coalition from Shiite Houthi rebels last summer.

The country has split into two by the civil war. Shiite rebels control the northern region, which has witnessed extensive air campaign by a Saudi-led coalition. The southern region, controlled by the internationally-recognised government with the support of Saudi Arabia, is in a state of power and security vacuum. The Islamic State terror group and al-Qaida affiliates have seized the opportunity to create safe havens in the south.

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