Human traffickers deliberately drowned 50 migrants

Human traffickers deliberately drowned 50 migrants

Human traffickers deliberately drowned 50 migrants

The United Nations' migration agency says people-smugglers have "deliberately drowned" dozens of Somali and Ethiopian migrants off the coast of Yemen.

The survivors told the IOM that a smuggler had pushed them to the sea after seeing people who looked like officials, the IOM's Yemen mission head Laurent de Boeck said.

At least 56 people have drowned over the past 24 hours, and dozens remain missing, after human traffickers forced 300 African migrants off two Yemen-bound boats and into the sea.

"This is shocking and inhumane", de Boeck said.

Many of those thrown overboard were children, with the average age of passengers being 16.

Migrants try to make their way to the oil-rich Gulf countries.

But economic and environmental factors in Somalia and Ethiopia, where most of the migrants come from, have left young people feeling there is no future for them at home.

"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. One-third are women. In spite of the war in Yemen, African migrants continue to choose this route because there is no central authority that can prevent them from undertaking their trip.

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On this route, migrants are exposed to the dangers of Yemen's conflict, with some having been killed in the war. Also, the smugglers who carry these migrants drop them near the shore fearing the armed groups.

"The bodies were buried in shallow graves by the survivors", Headon said.

At least 22 migrants are still missing.

The narrow waters between the Horn of Africa and Yemen have been a popular migration route despite Yemen's ongoing civil war.

Crossing the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea is particularly unsafe because of strong currents and high winds.

As per reports, more than 111,000 migrants arrived on the shores of Yemen previous year and in 2015 the figure was 100,000.

Years of fighting between the Saudi-backed government and Shiite Huthi rebels allied with Iran have been compounded by a cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 2,000 people and the looming threat of starvation.

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