Abu Dhabi/Ras Al Khaimah/Sharjah: Four Emiratis who were killed in a terrorist attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on January 10 were laid to rest on Saturday.
The bodies of the martyrs arrived on-board a military aircraft to a special reception attended by senior officials. Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and a number of senior civilian and military officials were at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport to receive the bodies on Saturday.
A committee tasked with the identification of bodies could not locate the body of martyr Mohammad Ali Zainal Al Bastaki, who was said to be standing on the same spot where the explosion took place in Kandahar.
The authorities notified the family members of martyr Al Bastaki who accepted the news with a sense of pride and emphasised their determination to continue working in support of humanitarian efforts. Funeral prayers were, however, still carried out for Al Bastaki in Abu Dhabi.
The four who were laid to rest on Saturday were Abdullah Mohammad Essa Obaid Al Kaabi, Ahmad Rashid Salim Ali Al Mazroui, Ahmad Abdul Rahman Ahmad Al Tunaiji, and Abdul Hamid Sultan Abdullah Ebrahim Al Hammadi.
On Saturday evening, hundreds of worshippers in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain gathered for the funeral prayers for three of the five Emirati martyrs.
Funeral prayers were performed for Al Hammadi and Al Bastaki in Abu Dhabi, and in Al Ain, funeral prayers were performed for Al Kaabi.
The bodies were taken to the cemetery after the funeral prayers at the mosques.
The funeral was attended by both Emiratis and expatriates, young and old, with fathers bringing their children along with them to pay their final respects to their heroes. The mourners expressed their pride at their martyred countrymen, and said the citizens of the UAE would always be ready to help people who needed it even in the face of danger, and that their martyred countrymen died while serving the values and identity of the UAE.
Hassan Al Hammadi, the younger brother of martyr Al Hammadi, said the whole family was proud of him even though they were sad they would not see him again.
“All of us consider him a hero and a martyr for the country. My brother served in the army until he retired, but he wanted to keep serving his country and so he decided to join the UAE’s humanitarian project in Afghanistan,” he said.
“He had worked in Afghanistan for three years. He did a lot of good work over there and really loved it. Humanitarian work was something he was always very passionate about, even when he was in the military, he used to receive appreciation letters and certificates for doing good work for charitable causes.
“A week before he left for Afghanistan, he visited his mother in the hospital, and all of the family were able to tell him how proud we were of him.”
Hassan said his martyred brother left two sons and a wife behind, but that his wife was very proud of her husband.
“My brother’s wife wrote a powerful message through social media about him the same day he was martyred. She wrote a strong letter for her sons and how they should be proud of their father.”
In Al Ain, Ahmad Al Kaabi, the young brother of Abdullah Mohammad Eisa Obaid Al Kaabi, said that the family was comforted to know that his brother died while making others happy.
“He lost his life while making others happy and making them smile, he was there to open an orphanage for young children.
“Our brother was martyred while carrying out the principles and values of the UAE, which is supporting other people who need it, this is what our country and religion stands upon. In a way, we do not feel like we have lost him because we are sure that he is a martyr and that he is going to heaven so this gives us peace. It was God’s will and we accept it,” the younger brother added.
Al Kaabi leaves six children behind — three sons and three daughters.
“Before he left [for Afghanistan], he visited his mother and she gave him a big hug; she told him that she felt something was going to happen to him when he was in Afghanistan,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad Rashid Salim Ali Al Mazroui, 42, was laid to rest at Wadi Al Hilo of Kalba city on Saturday evening.
His funeral was attended by Shaikh Salem Bin Abdul Rahman Al Qasimi, chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s office, and a number of senior officials.
A large number of residents of Wadi Al Hilo and the surrounding villages turned up to mourn the town’s hero.
The funeral prayer was held at Kaab Bin Zaid Mosque at 5.20pm. Besides family and friends, many residents also joined in the prayers.
The martyr’s eldest son, Mohammad, 19, said: “I and the whole country are proud of my father and the other martyrs who died while performing a noble job and helping needy people.
“All of us are ready to give our souls for the sake of the country,” he said. The martyr leaves behind his parents, wife and seven children including five boys and two girls.
Al Mazroui was known for his love for humanitarian work.
In Ras Al Khaimah, Ahmad Abdullah Al Tunaiji was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Al Rams as friends and relatives bid him a tearful farewell.
Khalid Al Tunaiji, the martyr’s brother, said: “He [Ahmad] has been working for the humanitarian cause from a very young age. It was a personal passion for him, so he spent most of his income and energy in taking care of others — relatives as well as others.”
“His dedication and passion for humanitarian causes were recognised when he was appointed a consultant in the UAE Embassy in Kabul two years back, where he was responsible for food and water distribution as well as other charity works,” said Khalid.
Eldest of five brothers, Al Tunaiji is survived by wife and two children.
“The last time we spoke on phone was on Monday, a day before he was martyred, and the only thing he kept asking about was the mosque we are building near our family farmhouse in Abu Dhabi,” said Khalid, holding back his tears.
Hundreds gathered at Shaikh Zayed Mosque in Ras Al Khaimah, where relatives, including the father, brothers and friends of the martyr, paid their last respects to the departed soul.
Funeral prayers were held after Maghreb, following which the body draped in the UAE colours was taken to Al Rams, the ancestral home of Al Tunaiji family, some 20km north of Ras Al Khaimah city, where he was laid to rest.
“I and the whole country are proud of my father and the other martyrs who died while performing a noble job and helping needy people. All of us are ready to give our souls for the sake of the country.
Mohammad, eldest son of Ahmad Rashid Salim Ali Al Mazroui
“All of us consider him a hero and a martyr for the country. My brother served in the army until he retired, but he wanted to keep serving his country and so he decided to join the UAE’s humanitarian project in Afghanistan.”
Hassan Al Hammadi, brother of Abdul Hamid Sultan Abdullah Ibrahim Al Hammadi
“He lost his life while he was making others happy and making them smile. He was there to open an orphanage for young children. Our brother was martyred while carrying out the principles and values of the UAE, which is supporting other people who need it; this is what our country and religion stands upon.”
Ahmad Al Kaabi, brother of Abdullah Mohammad Eisa Obaid Al Kaabi
“His dedication and passion for humanitarian causes were recognised when he was appointed a consultant in the UAE Embassy in Kabul two years back, where he was responsible for food and water distribution as well as other charity works.”
Khalid, brother of Ahmad Abdullah Al Tunaiji