10 Aug 2017

Smuggler deliberately drowned dozens of teen migrants - UN

11:43 am on 10 August 2017

At least 29 teenagers were deliberately drowned by a people smuggler in Yemen, the UN's migration agency says.

IOM staff assist Somali, Ethiopian migrants who were forced into the sea by smugglers.

UN Migration Agency staff assist Somalis and Ethiopians who were forced into the sea by smugglers. Photo: Supplied / UN Migration Agency

They were among 120 people who were deliberately pushed from a boat into the sea by the smuggler, who apparently feared arrest.

Twenty-seven survivors were found on a beach by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on a routine patrol.

Twenty-two were missing while the rest have moved on, the IOM said.

It said in a statement that the average age of the Somali and Ethiopian passengers on the boat appeared to have been 16. They had been hoping to reach countries in the Gulf via war-torn Yemen.

"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 de Boeck from the IOM said.

The smuggler has already returned to Somalia to pick up more people to bring them to Yemen on the same route, they told the IOM.

"This is shocking and inhumane," Mr de Boeck said.

"The suffering of migrants on this migration route is enormous. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future."

- BBC

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