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At least five migrants dead in second ‘deliberate drowning’ near Yemen

PeterHermesFurian/iStock/Thinkstock(ADEN, Yemen) — More than 100 migrants were forced from a boat off the coast of Yemen on Thursday, leaving at least five dead, the United Nations migration agency said.

In a press release, the International Organization for Migration said that five bodies had been recovered and approximately 50 more migrants were missing. The incident follows a similar incident in which 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants were forced into the Arabian Sea. That incident resulted in the drowning of 50 people.

The IOM also says that the shallow graves of 29 migrants were uncovered on a beach in Shabwa. Those who drowned in the Wednesday incident are believed to have been buried there by those that survived.

Medical staff from the migration agency tended to 27 surviving migrants, while approximately 42 had already left the beach. Twenty-two remain unaccounted for.

“The survivors told our colleagues on the beach that the smuggler pushed them to the sea, when he saw some ‘authority types’ near the coast,” said Laurent de Boeck, the IOM’s Yemen Chief of Mission. “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.”

“This is shocking and inhumane” de Boeck added. “The suffering of migrants on this migration route is enormous. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future.”

The approximate average age of the passengers on the boat in the Wednesday incident was 16 years old, the IOM says.

More than 50,000 migrants are believed to have left the Horn of Africa since January to come to Yemen, the U.N. agency notes.

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