dglobalnews.com Smuggler 'deliberately drowned' dozens of migrants off Yemen coast
Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

Smuggler 'deliberately drowned' dozens of migrants off Yemen coast

Smuggler 'deliberately drowned' dozens of migrants off Yemen coast

In May and June alone, the bodies of 52 migrants including babies were found in the desert, while another 50 or so who went missing in late June are probably dead, according to the IOM.

At least 19 migrants are presumed to have drowned after 160 people were forced from a boat into rough seas off the coast of Yemen by smugglers in what may be a worrying new trend, the United Nations migration agency has said.

It states that "the dead were buried quickly by the survivors".

The migrants on board were from Somalia and Ethiopia and heading to countries in the Gulf via war-torn Yemen. Over 30,000 of them are under the age of 18 and came from Somalia and Ethiopia, while a third of them are said to be female. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future.

Despite a war that has cost more than 8,000 lives since March 2015 and brought the country to the brink of starvation, Yemen continues to attract people fleeing the Horn of Africa. The passengers' average age was around 16, the agency said.

With many still unaccounted for, the IOM believes up to 50 may have died.

"It will continue to be a trend, the smugglers bring migrants; the Yemen war doesn't stop them", De Boeck said.

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As per Laurent de Boeck, IOM chief in Yemen, fearing an arrest the survivors pushed migrants into the coast as some type of authority was in their line of vision. "Some people are paying as little as $100 US, but then on route they are tortured, they are abused, their families are made aware of this and are forced to pay $1,000 or to $2,000 more".

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 worldwide agencies that monitors migration in the area.

Despite the conflict, migrants still seek transit through Yemen, often towards its land border with Saudi Arabia.

Most victims were in their teenage years.

The group, which included Gambians and Senegalese, said they had been abandoned by their driver.

Many others also try to reach Europe via Libya and the Mediterranean Sea.

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