5 dead, 50 missing as smugglers throw 180 migrants into sea

Frederick Owens
August 12, 2017

An IOM spokesperson in Yemen told AFP the majority of the Ethiopian migrants appeared to be teenagers and young adults.

"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 said. We should not have to wait for tragedies like these to show us that worldwide cooperation must be enhanced to fight human smuggling - not just through policy, but through real action along these smuggling routes, IOM director-general William Lacy Swing said.

Some 180 young Ethiopian and Somali migrants, many weakened by hunger and drought in their home countries, were forced from a boat into rough seas off Yemen by smugglers on Thursday and 55 were presumed drowned, the United Nations migration agency said.

IOM staffers provided aid for 27 surviving migrants who remained on the beach, while other migrants left.

The IOM say 11,849 people have arrived in Spain so far this year, compared with 13,246 in all of last year.

Smugglers were pushing migrants into the sea away from the mainland for fear of government boats, amid reinforced border controls, or to avoid encountering armed groups on shore in the war-torn country. The statement mentioned that the average age of the migrants was 16.

"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", Mr de Boeck said earlier. Most of the people on the boat were from Ethiopia and Somalia. Yemen is now going through a conflict and humanitarian crisis but the migrants go there to try to reach Europe or the Gulf states.

Heartless! 50 refugees killed after smugglers throw them off boat to the sea
The survivors were left to bury the dead in shallow graves. Courtesy Metro UK

De Boeck called the suffering of migrants on the route enormous, especially during the current windy season on the Indian Ocean.

In both cases, most migrants were from Ethiopia and Somalia, the IOM said. Many leave from points in Djibouti, with some departing from Somalia. 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. "They are between 12 and 25 years old".

In Ethiopia, people expressed outrage on social media over the drownings.

Despite the fighting in Yemen, African migrants continue to arrive in the country where there is no central authority to prevent them from traveling onward.

Yemen's conflict itself is a deadly risk.

Migrant arrivals in Spain have tripled compared to this time a year ago, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

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