55 more migrants feared dead after being forced from boat off Yemen



Five migrants have died and more than 50 others

went missing after smugglers forced them from a boat off the coast of

Yemen in the second such drowning in two days, the UN migration agency

said on Thursday.

The International Organization for

Migration’s (IOM) statement came less than a day after it said up to 50

migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia were “deliberately drowned” by a

smuggler in a separate boat off Yemen.

Up to 180 migrants were forced from the boat on Thursday morning, the IOM said.


of the Aquarius rescue ship run by non-governmental organizations (NGO)

SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF - Doctors Without

Borders) prepare to load a body bag of a migrant who died at sea onto a

small vessel on August 3, 2017. /AFP Photo)


have the five bodies for sure … but we believe that there are certainly

more than 50 who are still in the sea,” Laurent de Boeck, the IOM’s

chief of mission in Yemen, told The Associated Press.


narrow waters between the Horn of Africa and Yemen have been a popular

migration route despite Yemen’s conflict. Migrants, most of them

Ethiopians, try to make their way to oil-rich Gulf countries.


are not aware at all that there is a war. Sometimes they don’t even

believe us when we explain it to them,” de Boeck said. Just by making

land they feel “they are halfway to wealthy.”

In the

first drownings on Wednesday, a smuggler forced more than 120 migrants

into the sea as they approached Yemen’s coast, the IOM said. Its

staffers found the shallow graves of 29 migrants on a beach in Shabwa

during a routine patrol. At least 22 migrants remained missing.

The passengers’ average age was around 16, the IOM said.


survivors told our colleagues on the beach that the smuggler pushed

them to the sea when he saw some ‘authority types’ near the coast,” de

Boeck said Wednesday. “They also told us that the smuggler has already

returned to Somalia to continue his business and pick up more migrants

to bring to Yemen on the same route.”

De Boeck called

the suffering of migrants on the route enormous, especially during the

current windy season on the Indian Ocean. “Too many young people pay

smugglers with the false hope of a better future,” he said.


IOM says about 55,000 migrants have left Horn of Africa nations for

Yemen since January, with most from Somalia and Ethiopia as they flee

drought and unrest at home. Many leave from points in Djibouti, with

some departing from Somalia. A third of them are estimated to be women.


sleep on the beach on August 9, 2017 in Ventimiglia, near the French

border. Groups of migrants wander in the small city of Ventimiglia

trying to cross the border between Italy and France. /AFP Photo)


are coming for the third time. 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. And they have no choice,” de Boeck told

the AP. “They are between 12 and 25 years old.”


travelling from Djibouti pay about 150 US dollars, while migrants

travelling from northern Somalia pay between 200 US dollars and 250 US

dollars because the route to Yemen is longer.


than 111,500 migrants landed on Yemen’s shores last year, up from around

100,000 the year before, according to the Regional Mixed Migration

Secretariat, a grouping of international agencies that monitors

migration in the area.