Smugglers threw at least 20 people trying to flee from Somalia to Yemen to their deaths drowning in the Gulf of Aden earlier this week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a UN agency, said in a press release on Thursday.
“At least 20 people have drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard early Wednesday morning during their journey from Djibouti to Yemen, the third such incident on the Gulf of Aden in six months,” the release stated.
Survivors receiving medical treatment at the IOM Migrant Response Center in Obock said at least 200 migrants, including children, were crowded aboard the vessel when it departed. Thirty minutes into the journey the smugglers threw around 80 people into the sea. Five bodies were recovered on Wednesday, the agency said.
“We work closely with the authorities in Djibouti to assist migrants, but Wednesday’s tragedy is further proof that criminals continue to exploit people desperate to improve their lives for profit regardless of the consequences,” IOM Djibouti Chief of Mission Stephanie Daviot said in the release.
Every year, tens of thousands of young African migrants from the region make the dangerous journey from countries like Somalia and Ethiopia to Djibouti, before boarding vessels to Yemen and traveling onwards to the Gulf nations in search of work, the IOM explained.