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By Abdi Sheikh

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - The Somali government condemned a helicopter attack on a boatload of Somali refugees off the coast of Yemen and called on the Saudi-led coalition fighting in the country to investigate, officials said on Saturday.

At least 40 Somali refugees were killed when a helicopter attacked the boat they were travelling in late on Thursday, the United Nations refugee agency said. It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack.

"The prime minister condemns the unfair killing of the Somalis who were sailing on the shores of Yemen ... the victims were innocent, unarmed and were mostly women and children," Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire's office said in a statement.

"The prime minister has ordered an investigation of the act and those behind it," the statement said.

"We call on our partners in the Saudi-led coalition to investigate the raid," Foreign Minister Abdusalam Hadliye Omer said in another statement.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi forces in Yemen said it did not conduct any operations or have any engagement on Thursday in the Hodeidah area where the attack took place.

(Editing by David Clarke)

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