Health Care

IOM: Smugglers 'deliberately drowned' migrants near Yemen

IOM: Smugglers 'deliberately drowned' migrants near Yemen

"Early this morning, a smuggler, in charge of the boat, has forced more than 120 migrants, somalis and ethiopians to jump into a rough sea as they approached the coast of the province of yemen of Chabwa, in Arabian sea", said the IOM in a statement quoting survivors.

IOM staff found the shallow graves of 29 people on a beach in Shabwa province during a routine patrol and provided medical care to 27 surviving migrants who had stayed on the beach, according to the United Nations -affiliated organization.

Laurent de Boeck, the IOM chief of mission in Yemen, called the incident "shocking and inhumane".

Ethiopians and Somalis fleeing poverty or violence generally try to reach Yemen to get then in the Gulf countries.

Some 27 survivors were found on a beach by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on a routine patrol.

The migrants usually make the risky journey across the Mediterranean Sea with smugglers, who sometimes overcrowd the boats.

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"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".

Twenty-two are missing while the rest have moved on, the IOM said.

IOM spokeswoman Olivia Headon said: "They were all quite young, the average age was around 16".

On this route, migrants are exposed to the dangers of Yemen's conflict, with some having been killed in the war.

"Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future", he said. Most of the people on the boat were from Ethiopia and Somalia.

The migrants, travelling to Yemen in search of new opportunities in the Gulf, had travelled a route taken by 55,000 others from their region this year. In Ethiopia, deadly anti-government protests and a 10-month state of emergency have forced some to choose to migrate. The migrants are vulnerable to abuse by armed trafficking rings, many of them believed to be connected to the armed groups involved in the war.