Several boat passengers, mostly Ethiopian, forced overboard in Gulf of Aden


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Several boat passengers, mostly Ethiopian, forced overboard in Gulf of Aden

At least 20 people drowned off the coast of Yemen earlier in the week and two were reported missing after smugglers carrying them across the Gulf of Aden from the Horn of Africa forced them to jump overboard in deep water, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The boat was carrying around 115 passengers, mostly Ethiopians. UNHCR staff in southern Yemen said in a news dispatch from Sana’a Wednesday that the remaining 93 passengers on the vessel made it ashore on Monday, after being forced overboard near a village outside the town of Ahwar, about 220 kilometres east of the Yemeni port city of Aden. Survivors were transferred to the UNHCR-run Ahwar reception centre, while the dead were buried in a cemetery donated by the government of Yemen. More than 43,500 people in over 850 smuggling boats have arrived in Yemen so far this year, after making the perilous voyage across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia or Djibouti. At least 380 people have died and some 360 are missing so far this year. In 2007, some 29,500 people made the voyage to Yemen and the overall number of dead and missing reached 1,400.

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