Teenage Migrants 'Deliberately Drowned' By Smugglers In Yemen

Up To 50 Migrants Killed Off Coast Of Yemen After Smuggler Forces Them Overboard

The migrants had been hoping to reach countries in the Gulf via war-torn Yemen, through to the especially hazardous during the current windy season in the Indian Ocean.

Yemen, which was already a poor country, has been crippled for two years by a war between Shiite Huthi rebels and President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi, whose government is backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

"When they (IOM staff) met them they understood they were basically survivors of a boat which dropped them in the sea".

They estimated the average age of those on board to be 16.

Around 55,000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa to come to Yemen so far this year, more than half of them under the age of 18 and a third thought to be female, the IOM estimates.

Ethiopians are also facing acute hunger, with the United Nations saying at least 8.5 million people in the country are in need of immediate food assistance. They had been buried by survivors.

The migrants usually make the risky journey across the Mediterranean Sea with smugglers, who sometimes overcrowd the boats.

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Crossing the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea is particularly unsafe because of strong currents and high winds.

At least 22 migrants remained missing, the IOM said.

Part of the rise in migration to Yemen is down to cost, Headon explains.

The route is popular because it is cheaper than others, but when they arrive migrants often fall victims to abuse. "On this route to the Gulf countries, it can be as little as $100". "The smugglers are well aware of what's happening in Yemen, so it may just be they're trying to protect their own neck while putting other people's lives at risk". "Many record this on Facebook, and FaceTime, to force families to pay more money as a sort of ransom".

"We have the five bodies for sure. but we believe that there are certainly more than 50 who are still in the sea", Laurent de Boeck, the IOM's chief of mission in Yemen, told The Associated Press.

"It may be the start of a new trend", she said.

As per reports, more than 111,000 migrants arrived on the shores of Yemen previous year and in 2015 the figure was 100,000.

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