Dead, 50 Missing After Smugglers Push Somali, Ethiopian Migrants Into Yemen Sea

A boat full of migrants

This latest incident comes barely 24 hours after smugglers forced more than 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants into the sea as they approached the coast of Shabwa, a Yemeni Governorate along the Arabian Sea resulting in the drowning of around 50 migrants.

Only five bodies have been recovered from Thursday's incident, with 50 reported missing, presumed dead.

The dead had been buried quickly by the survivors and the International Committee of the Red Cross were working with the IOM to appropriately care for the remains of the deceased, the IOM said.

Around 55,000 refugees have left the Horn of Africa nations for Yemen since January, with most from Somalia and Ethiopia aiming to find work in the Persian Gulf countries, according to the IOM. More than 30،000 of those migrants are under 18 and from Somalia and Ethiopia، while a third are estimated to be female.

Yemen is in the midst of a protracted civil war and an outbreak of cholera, but migrants and refugees continue to arrive in their thousands, hoping to pass through and reach wealthy Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. The average age of the passengers was just 16, according to IOM. There is an ongoing drought situation in Somalia and Ethiopia.

The Chief of Mission in Yemen Laurent de Boeck said his colleagues were told by survivors that the smuggler pushed them into the sea when he saw authorities.




After the smugglers dumped their human cargo, she says they turned back to Somalia to pick up more people and bring them back on the extremely risky, deadly voyage.

On this route, migrants are exposed to the dangers of Yemen's conflict, with some having been killed in the war. "People pay this small amount of money, which is actually affordable for them, but on the journey the smugglers rape, torture, and abuse them".

"There is something fundamentally wrong with this world if countless numbers of children can be deliberately and ruthlessly drowned in the ocean, when they are no longer an easy source of income, and nothing is done to stop it from ever happening again", said William Lacy Swing.

They waited for him for six days before giving up and walking for two more days until they reached a well, where they were spotted by local authorities who called the IOM. They didn't succeed, they went back home, but the parents didn't agree with the fact that they didn't succeed so they send them back.

"This is shocking and inhumane", de Boeck continued.

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