U.N.: Migrants pushed off boat for second time in two days

Aug. 10 (UPI) — The United Nations’ migration agency said that for the second time in two days, smugglers pushed migrants into the sea as their boat approached the Yemeni coast Thursday, killing at least five.

Over the two days, about 300 people were forced into the Arabian Sea and dozens are dead, the International Organization for Migration said in a statement. The incidents happened as the boats approached the coast of Shabwa.

On Thursday, IOM representatives recovered the bodies of five people and another 50 were reported missing. A total of 180 people were pushed overboard.

“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,” Laurent de Boeck, the IOM Yemen chief of mission, said of Wednesday’s incident. “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. This is shocking and inhumane. The suffering of migrants on this migration route is enormous. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future.”

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It’s unclear if the smugglers responsible for the two incidents are the same.

On Wednesday, IOM representatives found the shallow graves of 29 people on a beach in Shabwa during a routine patrol. Those who survived buried the dead upon reaching shore.

The IOM estimates about 55,000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa to travel to Yemen since the beginning of the year. More than 30,000 are under the age of 18 and emigrate from Somalia or Ethiopia. The average age of the passengers on the boat Wednesday was 16.

“This journey is especially hazardous during the current windy season in the Indian Ocean,” an IOM release said. “Smugglers are active in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, offering fake promises to vulnerable migrants.”


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