Yemen hit by second deliberate mass drowning in two days

Yemen hit by second deliberate mass drowning in two days

"The survivors have told our colleagues on the beach that smugglers had been asked to throw themselves into the sea after seeing what appeared to be representatives of the authorities", said Laurent de Boeck, chief of IOM mission, in speaking of the incident on Thursday.

Despite the ongoing civil war in Yemen, people from African countries, mostly from Ethiopia and Somalia, migrate to the Gulf country to evade home crisis.

Despite a war that has cost more than 8,000 lives since March 2015 and brought the country to the brink of starvation, Yemen continues to attract people fleeing the Horn of Africa.

More than 180 people were forced off a boat trafficking migrants near Shabwa province, southern Yemen.

Ethiopians are also facing acute hunger, with the United Nations saying at least 8.5 million people in the country are in need of immediate food assistance.

"They were all quite young, the average age was around 16", IOM spokeswoman Olivia Headon said. Soon after the incident, the IOM discovered graves of 29 migrants on a beach in Shabwa, Yemen, during the routine patrol.




Currently, 22 migrants are reportedly still missing and unaccounted for. "But others were actually buried by their friends on the beaches", de Boeck told Al-Jazeera, adding that it's the first time the group had documented such cases in the region. One-third are women. In spite of the war in Yemen, African migrants continue to choose this route because there is no central authority that can prevent them from undertaking their trip.

Migrants travelling from Djibouti pay about $150, while migrants travelling from northern Somalia pay between $200 and $250 because the route to Yemen is longer. The other route used by migrants to reach Europe is through the Mediterranean Sea.

The conflict itself is a deadly risk.

Scores of people are feared dead after the second forced drowning of migrants in two days in the Horn of Africa, the UN's migration agency said on Thursday.

In March, a helicopter opened fire on the vessel carrying over 140 Somali passengers in the Red Sea off the Yemen coast, killing 42 civilians and wounding another 34.

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