At least 20 confirmed dead as smugglers pushed 80 migrants off boat in Djibouti

EYEAFRICA TV: Djibouti City, DJIBOUTI:- At least 20 migrants have been confirmed dead on Wednesday after human smugglers pushed 80 off a boat along the East African coast of Obock in Djibouti.

Mohammed Abdiker, East & Horn of Africa regional director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said on Twitter the boat was on its way to Yemen when the incident took place.

Thousands of young African migrants try to pass through war-torn Yemen looking for jobs in Gulf countries, noted Abdiker.

This was the third such tragedy in less than six months, claiming over 70 lives, he added.

Yvonne Ndege, IOM regional spokesperson, told Anadolu Agency by phone that the smugglers threw people into the sea, saying the boat was overcrowded.

“The boat left from Oulebi, Djibouti, with 200 migrants, including women and children. The smugglers started shouting there were too many people on board and started throwing people into the sea. The survivors are being treated at the IOM’s Migrant Response Center in Djibouti,” she said.

Five bodies have been recovered so far, she added.

“The migrants, mainly Ethiopians and Somalis, try to reach Saudi Arabia in search of jobs after passing through Yemen. Thousands are stranded there and many are languishing in detention centers,” Ndege told Anadolu Agency.

Djibouti, bordering Somalia in the south and the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in the east, is a small country located in the Horn of Africa.

In October last year, at least eight migrants drowned and 12 others went  missing after human smugglers forced them off a boat near Djibouti. Another 14 migrants survived the incident.

In 2018, at least 30 refugees and migrants died when a boat capsized off Yemen, the survivors reporting gunfire.

And in 2017, up to 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia were “deliberately drowned” when a smuggler forced them into the sea off Yemen’s coast.

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