War through their eyes I
YNN Sunday, April 10th 2016 09:03 PM
The war of Summer 2015 in Aden has hundreds of thousands of stories. Stories of people who relocated, or of people who preferred to stay in their houses under the worst conditions. Stories of parents who lost their children and children who lost their parents. Each and every Adeni has their own wartime experience. I will be their voice to tell you what really happened.
Radwa, 22 year old civil engineering student and my classmate as well at the university of Aden, lives in Mualla district with her seven siblings and parents. During the invasion by the Houthi militia her family refused to leave their house, despite the electricity being off for months and a complete lack of clean water to drink. Al Mualla was completely empty, except for a few families like hers who preferred to stay rather than relocate and end up sleeping in the corridors of schools.
She tells me, “The 1st of April was the first day Mualla was hit by a Katyusha missile, that lead to the death of a 9 years old kid and his brother. On the same day they hit a couple residential buildings, one of them burned to the ground. The next day they took control of Mualla harbor. Due to the fighting the biggest storage of flour in Aden was destroyed, causing a disastrous flour shortage for cooking. Once they took control of the whole district they spread snipers in the tall buildings. It was dangerous to go out because you could be shot by the snipers anywhere. It was even dangerous to light a light at night because the snipers would attack the house. On the 5th of April the electricity station that powers Mualla was destroyed and that was the last day we saw electricity for almost seven months. After they took control they made life like hell – leaving Mualla was only allowed from 8 am until 12 pm, and returning to Mualla only from 2 pm until 4 pm. After 4 pm no one was allowed to go out even if it was for a serious reason, like illness, or getting water to drink.
Escaping was a nightmare. Not only because it depended on the mood of the militia members – sometimes they make you wait for hours and once you ask them why they respond so aggressively that it's not our business and shoot into the air – but also because the only way to the safe districts was dangerous, going through Alareesh district to Almemdara district. That road was a firing line and I was able to see the dead bodies of civilians who were trying to escape and no one was able to bury them. The last week of May was a disaster. Literally all the roads that lead to Mualla were closed, no one and nothing used to enter. To get things that we needed we had to go to Altawahi, which was in a better situation because food used to be smuggled in by boats. The worst thing I can think of was when one of our neighbors died at 2 am. His family had to keep his body in the house and it was super hot and humid and they didn’t even have water to wash his body. They had to wait until the next morning to bury him.
Unfortunately I can’t feel optimistic now after the liberation. It feels like war time was more merciful. We knew who our enemy was, but now the enemy is between us. You feel so scared that anytime you can be killed on the way to school or at home. No one is safe anymore. No one.”
By: Nisma Alozebi