Death at sea as over 100 Somali and Ethiopian migrants perish in two days off Yemeni coast

IOM staff assist Somali, Ethiopian migrants who were forced into the sea by smugglers. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

In what could be a trend in the high seas off Yemen, another 55 Somali and Ethiopia migrants are feared dead after over 180 of them were forced into the rough seas barely a day after 50 migrants were killed in a similar scenario.

The UN migration agency IOM Yemen announced on its Twitter page Thursday another smuggler had forced an estimated 180 migrants into the sea with 55 of them feared dead.

“180+ migrants forced from boat today, a day after 50 Somalis & Ethiopians were drowned by smugglers off Yemen,” IOM Yemen said.

Reuters quoted an IOM spokeswoman who warned a trend was developing. “We have seen five bodies and can confirm five dead… Fifty are still missing from this incident, so 55 are presumed dead,” IOM spokeswoman Olivia Headon told Reuters. “It may be the start of a new trend, smugglers know the situation is dangerous for them and they could be shot at, so they drop them near the shore.”

Earlier, IOM has said 50 Somali and Ethiopian migrants could have died when their smuggler forced them into the sea in the cooast of Shabwa, a Yemeni Governorate along the Arabian Sea.

It was the second such incident in as many days off Shabwa province in southern Yemen, where 50 teenage African migrants were “deliberately drowned” on Wednesday by a smuggler who forced 120 passengers off his boat, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

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