Yet again, 50 Somali and Ethiopian migrants pushed to death at sea in Yemen

The smuggler is reported to have headed back to Somalia to pick up more immigrants to Yemen

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

Up to 50 Somali and Ethiopian migrants are feared dead after they were forced into the sea in the coast of Shabwa in Yemen, four months after 42 Somali migrants were killed in a Saudi-led coalition gunship attack off the Yemeni coast of Hudaydah.

The UN migration agency IOM said Wednesday a smuggler ferrying 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants pushed them into the sea in what the survivors said could have been fear of authorities who could have been approaching.

“Shortly after the tragedy, staff from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, found the shallow graves of 29 migrants on a beach in Shabwa, during a routine patrol. The dead had been quickly buried by those who survived the smuggler’s deadly actions,” IOM said.

The UN body said 22 migrants are reportedly missing and unaccounted for noting that migrants were mostly of an average age of 16 years.

“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,” explained Laurent de Boeck, the IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.

De Boeck said the smuggler is reported to have headed back to Somalia to pick up more immigrants to Yemen who are seeking to travel further into Europe. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future,” said de Boeck.

A group of around 150 Somali migrants came under helicopter gunship attack March 16 killing 42 and wounding several others in Hudaydah. A UN report last month found the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war responsible for the attack.
The IOM estimates that since January, 55,000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa to come to Yemen.

 

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