Thursday, 01 December, 2011 | 14:21 WIB
100 RI Nationals Involved in Yemeni Conflict
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Indonesian Embassy’s head for Yemen, Agus Budiman, has admitted it has been difficult to evacuate 100 Indonesians from Darul Hadits Islamic Boarding School Damaj, Sa'ada province, Yemen.
The boarding school was blockaded following the death of two RI nationals at the site last week. “We’re worried about their condition,” Agus told Tempo on the telephone yesterday.
Agus, who was in charge of the evacuation, said the embassy had frequently told them to leave the boarding school. However, the situation in Damaj is still intense. He said they chose to wait for the boarding school’s leader and were ready for jihad. “They’re armed as well,” said Agus.
The Islamic boarding school, which follows the Salafi Sunni ideology was rejected following its conflict with the Al-Houthi group, which follows the Syiah ideology.
The boarding school, located 240 km north of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, has been attacked by heavy weaponry for the past month. Al-Houthi is in opposition with the Ali Abdullah Saleh government. Saleh resigned from his position as Yemeni president last week.
On November 22, the boarding school was attacked with a rocket that killed 22 people, including two Indonesians: Zamiri (24) and Abu Soleh (24). Abu Yusuf, also from Indonesia, was injured in the incident.
The embassy and ambulance were banned from entering the area to collect the bodies.
The boarding school leader allowed the embassy to call the RI citizens. Al-Houthi also guaranteed security for the evacuation.
Agus said the government was paying for their evacuation expenses to Sanaa until they return to Indonesia, although they entered Yemen illegally. “They came to Yemen on a tourist or pilgrim visa,” he said.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa called on Indonesians in Yemen to communicate with the embassy to facilitate the evacuation.
“Many Indonesians did not register their names, including the two dead students,” said Marty. There are 2,500 Indonesians in Yemen, 450 of whom have been evacuated in Sanaa.
ISMA SAVITRI I MARIA RITA