Up to 50 teen migrants 'deliberately drowned' off Yemen

Henrietta Brewer
August 10, 2017

At least 29 teenagers were deliberately drowned by a people smuggler in Yemen, the UN's migration agency says.

At least 29 migrants have died and 22 others missing in the Arabian sea after having been forced by their traffickers to jump to the sea off the coast of Yemen, reported Wednesday the global Organization for migration (IOM).

Many of those thrown overboard were children, with the average age of passengers being 16.

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.

Despite Yemen's ongoing war, migration routes through the country and onto the oil-rich Gulf nations are still popular.

IOM staffers provided aid for 27 surviving migrants who remained on the beach, while other migrants left. They also told the migration agency that the smuggler went back to Somalia to pick up more migrants.

"This is shocking and inhumane", Mr de Boeck said. Yemen is now going through a conflict and humanitarian crisis but the migrants go there to try to reach Europe or the Gulf states.

"Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future", he said.

The IOM estimates that around 55,000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa for Yemen since January.

The body of an illegal immigrant floats on the water after a boat carrying 200 illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa sank off the shores of al-Qarbole, some 60 kilometers east of the Libyan capital Tripoli on 22 August 2014.

Years of political chaos, combined with the rise of terror groups and deadly drought have driven many to leave Somalia.

More than 111,500 people landed on the country's shores a year ago, up from about 100,000 in 2015, according to the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, a grouping of worldwide agencies that monitors such movements in the area.

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