50 migrant teens 'deliberately drowned' off Yemen, UN migration agency says

Up to 50 teen migrants 'deliberately drowned' off Yemen

As many as 50 migrants from the Horn of Africa were "deliberately drowned" by a people trafficker who forced them into the sea off the Yemen coast, the United Nations migration agency said Wednesday.

The IOM said it had found the shallow graves of 29 migrants on a beach in the southern province of Shabwa after they had been buried by survivors.

Many of those thrown overboard were children, with the average age of passengers being 16.

At least 22 migrants remained missing, the IOM said.

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

The doctors of the IOM have provided support and emergency care to the 27 survivors, women and men, remained on the beach, according to the release. With many still unaccounted for, the IOM believes up to 50 may have died.

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The Chief of Mission in Yemen Laurent de Boeck said his colleagues were told by survivors that the smuggler pushed them into the sea when he saw authorities.

De Boeck called the suffering of migrants on the route enormous, especially during the current windy season on the Indian Ocean.

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 false hopes of a better future", he lamented. More than 30 000 of them are minor and originate from Somalia and Ethiopia.

The war in Yemen has been nearly 8400 people dead and more than 47 000 casualties since 2015, according to the world Health Organization.

Already this year 55,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa have taken the hazardous route, IOM said.

More than 111,500 people landed on the country's shores a year ago, up from about 100,000 in 2015, according to the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, a grouping of worldwide agencies that monitors such movements in the area.

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