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Deadly bombings strike private cement company in Lahj

Yemen Times

SANA'A, March 31—At least ten people were killed and thirteen injured in suspected aerial strikes Monday evening on the National Cement Company (NCC) located in Wadi Sa›an area, Musaymir district, of Lahj governorate.

Nine employees who were on a bus preparing to leave work and at least one truck driver working for a wholesaler were killed immediately, Ali Al-Ahdal , the marketing manager and spokesperson of the NCC said Wednesday morning. Two truck drivers remain missing, he added.

While early reports suggest the bombings could have been artillery from the Houthis or the Southern Movement , Al-Ahdal said it was very likely an airstrike.

"Some of the workers in the factory heard aircrafts in the sky seconds before the bombings," he said. "The severe damage and the completely burned bodies of the victims indicates that it was an air strike."

A source from within the company, speaking to the Yemen Times on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation, said rumors of the company hosting Houthi militants started two weeks ago. According to the source, it was a group belonging to the Southern Movement that began spreading the rumor.

"Two days before the [Monday] attack, armed men who presented themselves as Southern Movement members insisted on entering the company to check that there were no Houthis or weapons inside," the source said. "Three of them were let in to check, they found no weapons or Houthis."

Dismissing these claims as attempts to defame the Southern Movement , Radfan Al-Dubais , the spokesperson for protesters in Aden's Al-Arood Square , denied the movement was responsible for any violent activities against the NCC or any other private or public institutions.

" The Southern Movement is a peaceful movement that seeks justice for all. The Southern Movement feels sorry for what happened and we sympathize with the families of the victims. We strongly condemn this bloody attack on the NCC," Al-Dubais said.

Mohammad Al-Bukhaiti , a member of the Houthi Political Office in Sana'a, also denied responsibility and claimed the NCC was hit by air strikes from the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm.

"The massive damage to the NCC indicates that it's an air strike," Al-Bukhaiti said. "The weapons that Ansar Allah [the Houthis] and the Southern Movement or any other armed group on the ground have can't cause this amount of damage."

Al-Bukhaiti claimed the Houthis have not and will not use the NCC or any private or public institutions for shelter or for weapon stores. "We strongly condemn the brutal attack on the NCC and all the attacks and bombings on the country›s infrastructure by the Saudi-led coalition," he added.

According to NCC spokesman Al-Ahdal, the company is a private business free from political affiliation. "The company serves the country and the residents of Lahj governorate, more than 60 percent of the employees are Lahji people," he said.

Mona Loqman , manager of the Media and Contract Department in the Hayal Saeed Anam (HSA) Group , a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, said the NCC is owned by the HSA and other partners from Yemen , Saudi Arabia , and the US.

(c) 2015 Yemen Times. All rights reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.
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