JOHANNESBURG – 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 International Organization for Migration statement calls the incident “shocking and inhumane.” It says staffers found the shallow graves of 29 of the migrants on a beach in Shabwa during a routine patrol.
The statement says the smuggler forced more than 120 migrants into the sea Wednesday morning as they approached Yemen’s coast.
Breaking: smugglers forced 120+ migrants in sea near #Yemen’s southern coast. A message from our Chief of Mission @ldeboeck: pic.twitter.com/mDzFK1C4l9
— IOM (@UNmigration) 9 de agosto de 2017
The narrow waters between the Horn of Africa and Yemen have been a popular migration route despite Yemen’s ongoing conflict.
The statement says staffers provided aid for 27 surviving migrants who remained on the beach, while other migrants left. The agency says 22 migrants are missing.