Roughly 50 teenage Somali and Ethiopian migrants were “deliberately drowned’’ on Wednesday by a smuggler.
The smuggler forced 120 passengers into the sea off Yemen’s coast, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.
““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,” Laurent Boeck, the IOM Yemen Chief of Mission, said in a statement.
“IOM staff found the remains of 29 African migrants buried on the beach in Yemen’s Shabwa province along the Gulf of Aden, while another 22 were missing after the incident,’’ according to survivors.
“They were all quite young, the average age was around 16,” IOM spokeswoman, Olivia Headon, said.
IOM had earlier reported that 1,530 migrants and refugees died crossing the Mediterranean in 2017.
The IOM reports that 60,521 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea this year, with over 80 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
“This number does not include some 6,000 people who have been rescued over the past 72 hours.”
In terms of fatalities, there have been 1,530 migrants and refugees who have died this year on this route, a figure that roughly matches those for 2016 for the same period, he said.
However, the IOM warned that the deadliest season is starting right now.