GENEVA: Around 50 teenage Somali and Ethiopian migrants were “deliberately drowned” by a human smuggler who forced 120 passengers into the sea off Yemen’s coast, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says.
“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 in a statement on Wednesday.
IOM staff found the remains of 29 African migrants buried on the beach in Yemen’s Shabwa province along the Gulf of Aden, while survivors reported another 22 passengers missing.
Boeck said survivors reported the smuggler was already continuing his work.
“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,” he said.
The migrants, who included some young women, had headed to war-torn Yemen in order to then seek opportunities in Gulf countries.
Earlier this year, 55,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa have taken the hazardous route, the IOM said.