AJMAN // Hundreds of mourners poured into the quiet border town of Masfut on Monday for the funeral of fallen serviceman Obaid Salem Al Badwawi.
The streets were filled with well-wishers from neighbouring towns and other emirates who paid their respects to Obaid, 22, who died taking part in the Arab Coalition’s Operation Restoring Hope, when his military vehicle overturned in Saudi Arabia.
His father, Salem Al Badwawi, wore a UAE scarf and spoke of the pride he felt for his son.
“This is a great honour for our family to have one of my children pay the ultimate sacrifice serving and defending his country,” Mr Al Badwawi said. “Our children are ready to put their lives on the line for restoring peace and security for our brothers.”
Obaid, who had served in the military for three years, was the second-youngest child of seven brothers and two sisters.
Nayef Saleh, 38, a Dubai Police officer, was among the mourners. “I came with other officers from Hatta to pay respects to the family of the martyr,” he said.
“He and his family are known for their virtues and service to the community and it’s our duty to support them in these times.”
Mohammed Salem, an Omani from a neighbouring town in Ajman, also felt it was his duty to support and pay respects to the family of the servicemen.
“We are considered one family in the war against the injustice,” said Mr Salem, 60.
“Obaid’s sacrifice will not be forgotten and forever be an honour for this town, family and country.”
Mohammed Rashid, a pensioner in Masfut, said: “Everyone in town came to pray for the fallen soldier.
“They are sad for losing a fine young man but honoured that their town offered her sons to defend our brothers in Yemen.”
Al Badwawi was a keen footballer for the town’s club and was known to many of the young Emiratis in Masfut.
Hamad Obaid, a 16-year-old pupil, prayed for the fallen soldier and joined the funeral procession.
“The martyr was a role model for us,” Hamad said. “We knew him as a great sportsman and a soldier. May he rest in peace.”
Hamad Ali, 16, another pupil, said: “Students admired Obaid, he was a great football player. We looked up at him as a great role model.”
Obaid’s brother Abdullah said he had spoken to him two days before his death.
“He was in a good health and told us that everything was fine,” Abdullah said.
The serviceman had spent six months abroad, said another of his brothers, Hamad.
“He took an aviation technician course in France for six months before he came back and continued his service,” Hamad said.
More than 70 UAE service personnel have been killed while serving their country as part of Operation Restoring Hope.
Source: uae news