ibusinesslines.com August 22, 2017

Teenage migrants 'deliberately drowned' by smugglers in Yemen

10 August 2017, 09:56 | Melissa Porter

The IOM says about 55,000 people have left Horn of Africa nations for Yemen since January

The IOM says about 55,000 people have left Horn of Africa nations for Yemen since January

The U.N. migration agency says up to 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia have been "deliberately drowned" when a smuggler forced them into the sea off Yemen's coast.

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.

The migrants, who included some young women, were headed to war-torn Yemen in order to seek opportunities in Gulf countries.

IOM staff provided aid for 27 survivors who remained on the beach.

The migrants usually make the unsafe journey across the Mediterranean Sea with smugglers, who sometimes overcrowd the boats.

Twenty-two are missing while the rest have moved on, the IOM said.

"They have also said that the smuggler was already returned to Somalia to continue its business, and (...) bring back other migrants in Yemen (the way) by the same route", he added.

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

"They were all quite young, the average age was around 16", IOM spokeswoman Olivia Headon 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.

According to the IOM, since January about 55,000 people - most of whom are teenagers from Somalia and Ethiopia - have left the Horn of Africa in an effort to transit Yemen in search of more sustainable conditions in oil-rich Middle Eastern nations. There are several refugee camps in southern Yemen, hosting Somali refugees.

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

Meanwhile some Ethiopians have left home after months of deadly anti-government protests and a 10-month state of emergency. Most victims were in their teenage years.

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