The International Organization for Migration reported that at least 30 African refugees and migrants drowned off the coast of Yemen earlier this week after a boat capsized. The overcrowded boat capsized after smugglers opened fire in an attempt to extort money from the passengers.
Archives Photo Credit: EPA
At least 30 African refugees and migrants drowned earlier this week off the coast of Aden, Yemen after an overcrowded boat on its way to Djibouti capsized, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on Friday. The boat packed with 152 Somalis and Ethiopians was operated by smugglers, who reportedly opened fire in an attempt to extort money from the passengers.
“The vessel is believed to have been operated by unscrupulous smugglers who were attempting to take refugees and migrants to Djibouti, while also trying to extort more money from these refugees and migrants,” the IOM reported. “The boat capsized amid reports of gunfire being used against the passengers.”
According to the UN, more than 87,000 migrants and refugees crossed the Horn of Africa to Yemen by boat in 2017, despite Yemen’s rapidly deteriorating situation. Yemen is currently suffering the worst humanitarian crisis in the world with civil war and famine ravaging throughout the country. These conditions leave refugees and migrants more vulnerable to human rights violations, such as human trafficking.
As reported two weeks ago by JOL, at least 279 African migrants were rescued at sea by the Libyan Navy, while there is grave concern for the lives of about 100 people who are still missing, Libyan authorities said in an official statement. The migrants were making their way to Eastern Europe on several overcrowded boats via the Mediterranean Sea when the boats capsized.