December 17, 2017

Smuggler deliberately drowned dozens of teen migrants

10 August 2017, 10:20 | Winifred Adams

The IOM says about 55,000 people have left Horn of Africa nations for Yemen since January

The IOM says about 55,000 people have left Horn of Africa nations for Yemen since January

A smuggler "deliberately drowned" up to 50 Somali and Ethiopian migrants in the sea off Yemen's coast, the United Nations migration agency said.

IOM staff assist Somali and Ethiopian migrants who were forced into the sea by smugglers. The approximate average age of the passengers on the boat was 16.

The statement says staffers provided aid for 27 surviving migrants who remained on the beach, while other migrants left.

Then they "simply went back to where they came from to pick more migrants and try to smuggle them into Yemen, again". This is shocking and inhumane.

Migrant monitoring agencies claim that 111,5000 asylum seekers arrived in Yemen from Africa previous year.

According to a source within the IOM in the city of yemen Aden, "there were many women and children among those who are dead and those reported missing". More than 30 000 of them are minor and originate from Somalia and Ethiopia.

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"The survivors told our colleagues on the beach that the smuggler pushed them to the sea when he saw some "authority types" near the coast", said Laurent de Boeck, the Yemen mission chief for the International Organization for Migration. "Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future".

The conflict itself is a deadly risk.

Despite the war in Yemen, almost 55 000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa, to arrive in this country from January 2017, according to IOM.

The body of an illegal immigrant floats on the water after a boat carrying 200 illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa sank off the shores of al-Qarbole, some 60 kilometers east of the Libyan capital Tripoli on 22 August 2014. In Ethiopia, tens of thousands have abandoned their homes in search of relief from a 10-month state of emergency imposed to suppress ongoing anti-government protests.

More than 111,500 migrants landed on Yemen's shores last year, up from around 100,000 the year before, according to the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, a grouping of global agencies.

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