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Fifty African Migrants 'Deliberately Drowned' by Smuggler Off Yemen's Coast

Fifty African Migrants 'Deliberately Drowned' by Smuggler Off Yemen's Coast

In May and June alone, the bodies of 52 migrants including babies were found in the desert, while another 50 or so who went missing in late June are probably dead, according to the IOM.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "is heartbroken by this continuing tragedy", Dujarric said.

On Wednesday the IOM said 51 people had been "deliberately drowned" in a similar incident.

"We must also increase legal pathways for regular migration and offer credible alternative to these risky crossings for people in need of global protection", Dujarric said. "Already this year 55,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa have taken the hazardous route", IOM said.

Despite the war in Yemen, almost 55 000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa, to arrive in this country from January 2017, according to IOM.

Migrants are braving the journey despite the war in Yemen as the violent conflict means there is no central authority to stop them travelling onward. "Sometimes they don't even believe us when we explain it to them". Just by making land they feel "they are halfway to wealthy".

The incident happened as the refugees approached the coast of Shabwa, a Yemeni Governorate along the Arabian Sea. At least 22 migrants remained missing.

Their average age was 16, the United Nations agency said.

"Our patrolling team on the beach met with 27 migrants, who looked completely exhausted and desperate", the IOM's Chief of Mission in Yemen, Laurent de Boeck, said.

"We condemn the acts of smugglers off the coast of Yemen - 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants were forced from a boat yesterday, and another 180 today, the death toll is still rising", IOM Director General William Lacy Swing told MEE.

Windy season in the Indian Ocean makes the trip especially risky.

Yemen is in the midst of a protracted civil war and an outbreak of cholera, but migrants and refugees continue to arrive in their thousands, hoping to pass through and reach wealthy Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. "Some people are paying as little as $100 USA, but then on route they are tortured, they are abused, their families are made aware of this and are forced to pay $1,000 or to $2,000 more".

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