UN: 50 migrants from Somalia, Ethiopia ‘deliberately drowned’ by smugglers


The UN migration agency says up to 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia were “deliberately drowned” off the coast of Yemen on Wednesday.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) the smuggler in charge of the boat forced 120 migrants into the sea as they approached the coast of Shabwa. IOM staff say they found 29 bodies along Shabwa beach during a routine patrol while 22 people are unaccounted for.


Up to 50 migrants drowned

According to reports from survivors, the smuggler in charge of the boat forced the migrants into the water after seeing a boat belonging to local authorities approaching. They also say the human trafficker has already returned to Somalia where he’ll pick up another group of migrants looking to cross over into Yemen.

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


Update: Another 180 migrants forced from boat

On Thursday – one day after the group of 50 was drowned – another 180 migrants were forced from a boat off the coast of Yemen, according to the OIM. Five bodies have already been found and at least another 50 are still missing, less than 24 hours after the first group of migrants were forced into the sea.


Featured image: By Irish Defence Forces – https://www.flickr.com/photos/dfmagazine/18898637736/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41045858

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.