Thursday, 10 August 2017

Yemen Sea: 5 dead, 50 missing as smugglers throw 180 migrants

A photo taken in March 2006 and obtained from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows the bodies of young men believed to be Somali refugees, found on Yemen's Red Sea coastline in Shabwa province

Twenty-five people were being treated for injuries on a beach on Yemen's Red Sea coast, the UN migration agency told AFP.

At least five migrants drowned and 50 went missing Thursday when smugglers forced 180 Africans off a boat bound for Yemen, a day after a similar incident left 50 dead, the International Organization for Migration said.

Twenty-five people were being treated for injuries on a beach on Yemen's Red Sea coast, the UN migration agency told AFP. It could not immediately confirm the nationalities of the casualties.

Despite a war that has left over 8,300 people dead since March 2015, Yemen continues to draw migrants from the Horn of Africa seeking work in the prosperous Gulf countries further north.

On Wednesday, human traffickers also forced more than 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants into rough seas off Yemen to avoid arrest by local authorities, leaving at least 50 dead and 22 missing, the IOM said.

IOM teams, working with the International Committee of the Red Cross, found the bodies of 29 migrants in shallow graves along the coast of the southern Shabwa province. They had been buried by survivors.

The average age of those on the boat was 16.

"The smugglers deliberately pushed the migrants into the waters since they feared that they would be arrested by the authorities once they reach the shore," an IOM emergency officer in Aden told AFP.

Laurent de Boeck, the IOM Yemen Chief of Mission, said the boat's crew immediately returned to Somalia to pick up more migrants to bring to Yemen on the same route.

"The suffering of migrants on this migration route is enormous. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future," he said.

Long the poorest Arab country, Yemen is suffering what the UN has labelled the "largest humanitarian crisis in the world".

On top of years of fighting between the Saudi-backed government and Shiite Huthi rebels allied with Iran, the country is witnessing a cholera outbreak and a looming famine.

All that has left nearly 10,300 people dead and displaced millions.

Yet the IOM estimates some 55,000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa headed for Yemen since the start of 2017, more than half of them under the age of 18.

It says the journey is particularly dangerous at this time of year due to high winds in the Indian Ocean.

from - Nigeria's entertainment & lifestyle platform online

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