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Up to 50 migrants 'deliberately drowned' off Yemen

Up to 50 migrants 'deliberately drowned' off Yemen

At least 50 migrants drowned after a smuggler forced them into rough seas off Yemen, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

"We have the five bodies for sure. but we believe that there are certainly more than 50 who are still in the sea", Laurent de Boeck, the IOM's chief of mission in Yemen, told The Associated Press.

The passengers were mostly from Ethiopia and had an average age around 16-years-old.

The war in Yemen has left over 8,300 people dead and displaced millions since 2015, but the impoverished country continues to draw migrants from the Horn of Africa seeking work in prosperous Gulf countries further north.

"We condemn the acts of smugglers off the coast of Yemen - 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants were forced from a boat yesterday, and another 180 today, the death toll is still rising", IOM Director General William Lacy Swing told MEE. They also told the migration agency that the smuggler went back to Somalia to pick up more migrants. The suffering of the migrants on this route is enormous.

Headon says it is unlikely the smugglers will be caught, nevertheless, the IOM is trying to gather more information on the smugglers to pass on to the authorities.

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They had been buried by survivors.

Currently, 22 migrants are reportedly still missing and unaccounted for.

The journey is especially hazardous at this time of year due to strong winds in the Indian Ocean.

The IOM says about 55,000 people have left Horn of Africa countries for Yemen since January, with most coming from Somalia and Ethiopia. "Smugglers are active in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, offering fake promises to vulnerable migrants". And without a centralized authority in Yemen, there is no one to stop them from traveling onward through the war-torn country.

Migrant monitoring agencies claim that 111,5000 asylum seekers arrived in Yemen from Africa a year ago. "Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future", de Boeck said. Since 2004, Yemen has witnessed a war between the Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemen's internationally recognised government.

Last march, a helicopter has fired on a boat of Somalis off the coast of Yemen, killing 42 people dead and, according to a confidential report of the united Nations, the camera belonged to the coalition under the leadership of saudi arabia.


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