Up to 50 teen migrants 'deliberately drowned' off Yemen

Up to 50 teen migrants 'deliberately drowned' off Yemen

This latest incident comes barely 24 hours after smugglers forced more than 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants into the sea as they approached the coast of Shabwa, a Yemeni Governorate along the Arabian Sea resulting in the drowning of around 50 migrants.

SBS World News spoke to Mr de Boeck shortly before the IOM reported 180 Ethiopian and Somali migrants were forced into the sea, with 55 presumed dead: the second incident in two days.

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People who survived the traumatic ordeal reported to authorities that human smugglers forced them into the sea just before reaching Yemen's shores.

Migrants, a lot of them Ethiopians, try to make their way to oil-rich Gulf countries in hopes of finding jobs.

But economic and environmental factors in Somalia and Ethiopia, where most of the migrants come from, have left young people feeling there is no future for them at home.

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"Boats are making this journey all the time where people are being abused and raped on route so that their families will pay more..." The war-torn country acts as an easy passage for smugglers because it has no central migration authority that can prevent such activities.

Many of those thrown overboard were children, with the average age of passengers being 16. Most of the people on the boat were from Ethiopia and Somalia. However, the route is increasingly unsafe because of the war and migrants often end up in the hands of unscrupulous militia and bandits.

"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. A third of them are estimated to be women.

The group, which included Gambians and Senegalese, said they had been abandoned by their driver.

The migration agency also released a statement saying the migrants were looking to reach other countries through Yemen.

The route is significantly more affordable than the West Africa route through Libya and onto Europe.

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