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Families of UAE martyrs are sad but proud

Family members reminisce about the compassion, humanitarian streak and love for the country of the martyrs

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi/Sharjah/Ras Al Khamaih/Al Ain: Gulf News on Wednesday interviewed the families of five Emiratis who were killed in a terrorist attack in Kandahar on Tuesday. The Emiratis were on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan. The five Emiratis were identified as Abdul Hamid Sultan Abdullah Al Hammadi, Mohammad Ali Zainal Al Bastaki, Abdullah Mohammad Eisa Obaid Al Kaabi, Ahmad Rashid Salim Ali Al Mazroui and Ahmad Abdul Rahman Ahmad Al Tunaiji. The families of the martyrs await the bodies of their sons to arrive in the country

Mohammad Al Bastaki, 61

Abu Dhabi: The family of 61-year-old Mohammad Al Bastaki say they have lost the eldest brother who served as a father figure as well.

“We knew about the tragic accident yesterday through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but we were informed about my brother’s martyrdom this morning, we were heart broken,” said his brother Ahmad.

Al Bastaki was married and had four children — Abdullah, 32, Suhaib, 29, Fatima, 12 and Ali, 9.

The martyr was scheduled to fly out of Afghanistan and arrive in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday evening.

“The last time I spoke to Mohammad was on Monday evening, he sounded very optimistic, positive, and said the situation was very normal, and there was nothing suspicious or bizarre going on. He was very happy that they have accomplished many humanitarian projects.”

“This is not the first time that he has travelled to Afghanistan. He frequently travelled there due to the nature of his work. On a weekly basis, he would fly out to Afghanistan for the philanthropy work and aid missions over there. He was very passionate and proud about philanthropy and charity work he was doing. He devoted his life, time and efforts in doing humanitarian work.”

Al Bastaki travelled to Afghanistan last week to follow up on the humanitarian projects executed and implemented by the UAE.

He was always seeking to do good deeds and extending a helping hand to others, said Ahmad.

“Mohammad was the eldest among eight siblings — five sisters and three brothers. He was a father figure for all of us in the family. He was loved and respected by everyone at work and in the family, he had a good relationship with everyone and extended a helping hand to everyone,” he added.

“Despite our agony and grief, we are very proud of him because he died with dignity and pride, while helping others. We are very proud of my brother, being a martyr who was on duty helping others and providing humanitarian assistance. We are all willing to be martyrs in the name of our country and may God rest his soul and the souls of the martyrs in peace,” Ahmad said.


Abdul Hamid Sultan Abdullah Al Hammadi, 53

Abu Dhabi: The brother of martyr Abdul Hamid Sultan Abdullah Al Hammadi says his family is devastated at the loss of such a cherished relative.

“I was dining at a restaurant with my wife and children, when I heard the tragic news about the explosion in Kandahar. I received a message from the news service subscription on my phone, soon after that I tried calling him to check on him, but there was no reply. I had a very bad feeling in my gut, my wife looked at me and I broke the news to her. We were speechless knowing that my brother Abdul Hamid is there,” said his brother Fouad.

“We had no updates on the explosion till dawn, only then my wife and I learnt that my brother was among the victims in the bombing in Kandahar. We just broke into tears.”

The last message he sent on the family’s WhatsApp group was on Tuesday — the day of the explosion — at 4.12pm, citing a quote, “Advice on avoiding negative thinking and assumptions, as it has negative consequences and is considered a vice — if I mistakenly expressed myself, then do not misunderstand the interpretation, meaning or explanation of the expression”.

Al Hammadi was married and had two sons — Abdullah, 20 and Sultan, 18.

“My brother sacrificed his life while doing good deeds, he died with pride and dignity, while inaugurating orphanages and education institutions. His loss is difficult for all of us, but what eases the agony and pain is that he is a martyr and that he was doing good deeds; and at the end, it’s all in God’s hands ... He only knows when we will be leaving this world.”

“My brother was in town for his one-week vacation last week, he was in Khor Fakkan visiting our ill mother in hospital and checking on her, and had lunch with the family.” Abdul Hamid travelled back to Afghanistan for his work on Sunday morning.

He usually travelled to Afghanistan for three weeks and then came back to the UAE for a one-week holiday. He was scheduled to fly back to Abu Dhabi in three weeks.

“Abdul Hamid was fourth among siblings — Mohammad, Abdullah, Um Ahmad, Abdul Hamid, Hassan, Ali and then me,” said Fouad.

Ahmad Rashid Salim Ali Al Mazroui, 42

Kalba: Saeed Al Mazroui, cousin of Ahmad Rashid Salim Ali Al Mazroui, said the family members appeared composed despite the demise of their son. His family includes his parents, wife and eight children, including five boys and two girls.

Al Mazroui, who is from Wadi Al Hilo in Kalba city of Sharjah, was known for his love for humanitarian work. Saeed described his martyred cousin as a “caring son and an affectionate father, kind and generous”. He would call and keep in touch with his children and family, Saeed said.

Not only did he follow his children’s academic performance and progress at school, he was also keen on inculcating values of love for the nation, loyalty and allegiance to the country’s leaders, he added.

He had been working on humanitarian projects in Afghanistan for the past three years, he said.

Al Mazroui’s parents are overwhelmed with grief due to the sudden death of their son but are proud that he was martyred while carrying out humanitarian mission and helping the needy people. The martyr always preached high moral values to his family, friends and children, Saeed added.

Abdullah Mohammad Eisa Obaid Al Kaabi, in his 30s

Al Ain: Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammad Al Kaabi, uncle of Abdullah Mohammad Eisa Obaid Al Kaabi, described his nephew as a humble man, who was respectful of all people, kind and who loved humanitarian work.

“Despite the great loss, we are proud that our son gave his life while performing a noble job and helping needy people,” he said.

When the father of the martyr received the tragic news, he said, “I am proud that my son was martyred while performing his national duty and helping needy people.”

Talking about his qualities, Al Kaabi said his nephew was a compassionate man and a keen follower of good values and morals.

Though he was young [in his 30s], he showed responsibility towards his country and spent his life involved in humanitarian work. “This was his wish,” he said.

The martyr from Al Ain is survived by six children — three boys and three girls.

Though his parents and wife were shocked at the news, they found strength in the UAE government’s support and concern. “It’s enough to see our Rulers and government support us, and feel our anguish,” said the martyr’s father.

“We in the UAE are blessed with a wise and honest leadership who devote themselves to their people and have placed citizens’ welfare as a priority.”

The martyr had been working in humanitarian projects in Afghanistan over for two years.

Ahmad Abdul Rahman Ahmad Al Tunaiji, 44

Ras Al Khaimah: The father of Ahmad Abdul Rahman Ahmad Al Tunaiji said, “There is no single human, moral or religious justification for bombing or killing our sons who are helping people. May Almighty Allah have mercy on our martyrs and accept them among the righteous.”

Martyr Ahmad Al Tunaiji, 44, from Ras Al Khaimah, was the eldest among 18 brothers and a sister.

He is survived by his two children — Amira 18 and Abdul Rahman, 17.

Ahmad’s father said his martyr son was a good man, loving and supportive at all times. He added that not just his family but all of the UAE, including the government and residents are proud of the country’s martyrs.

Before he left for Afghanistan, Ahmad had asked his brother Mohammad, 33, to follow up his private project to build a mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Ahmad had completed all legal procedures with the relevant authorities in Abu Dhabi and asked his brother to follow up and complete the project.

Ahmad had performed the Umrah and Haj several times. He had in fact returned from his last Umrah and left for Afghanistan immediately, informed his brother Ali, 24, who worked at the Abu Dhabi Airport.

“I considered Ahmad not only as my brother but as a close friend. I am proud of my brother and he will remain in our hearts.”

The martyr’s father said the whole family is proud of their son and they will have a celebration and not a funeral in his memory. “If we have anything more precious than our soul, we will give it for the sake of our country,” said the father.