Traffickers push up to 180 migrants into sea off Yemen

Up To 50 Migrants Killed Off Coast Of Yemen After Smuggler Forces Them Overboard

Laurent de Boeck, IOM's Yemen mission head, said the boat's crew immediately returned to Somalia on Wednesday to pick up more migrants headed to Yemen on the same route. This comes one day after smugglers deliberately drowned around 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia into the sea as they neared the coast of Shabwa, a Yemeni Governorate on the Arabian Sea. On Wednesday, IOM staff in Yemen said they had found the shallow graves of 29 migrants, with an average age of only 16, buried by survivors on a beach in the province.

The refugees were on their way to Gulf countries through Yemen.

More than 30,000 of these new migrants were under 18 years of age.

Up to 180 migrants were forced from a boat off the coast of Yemen.

"We were also told that the couriers had taken the road to Somalia to continue the same traffic and bring more and more migrants in Yemen", he added.

International Organization for Migration spokeswoman Olivia Headon tells VOA the migrants knew they could die, but were helpless to resist.

"Smugglers know the situation is risky for them and they could be shot at, so they drop them near the shore", she said.

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Despite a war that has cost more than 8,000 lives since March 2015 and brought the country to the brink of starvation, Yemen continues to attract people fleeing the Horn of Africa.

IOM medical personnel treated 27 survivors, who were both male and female, while a further 22 people that had been onboard are reportedly still missing.

Despite the fighting in Yemen, African migrants continue to arrive in the country where there is no central authority to prevent them from traveling onward.

As per reports, more than 111,000 migrants arrived on the shores of Yemen a year ago and in 2015 the figure was 100,000.

"Boats are making this journey all the time where people are being abused and raped on route so that their families will pay more..." A boat carrying Somali migrants was attacked in March, killing 42.

Years of fighting between the Saudi-backed government and Shiite Huthi rebels allied with Iran have been compounded by a cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 2,000 people and the looming threat of starvation.

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