Scores drown as human trafficker forces them off boat near Yemen

Then they "simply went back to where they came from to pick more migrants and try to smuggle them into Yemen, again".

Already this year, 55,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa have taken the hazardous route, according to the IOM.

A spokeswoman for the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) told Reuters the incidents "may be the start of a new trend".

However the journey is fraught with danger, from the overloaded boats to the risk of being caught up in attacks in Yemen and the threat of falling victim to armed trafficking rings. "But some in Somalia aren't aware of just how bad it is in Yemen".

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.

Youth unemployment is extremely high in parts of Somalia and the country is also experiencing a severe drought that is fueling fears of starvation.

After allegedly forcing people off the boat, it's believed it turned around and returned to Somalia. We see it on other routes as well.

Up to 180 migrants were forced from a boat off the coast of Yemen.

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Roughly 50 teenage Somalis and Ethiopians were "deliberately drowned" early on Wednesday by a smuggler who forced 120 passengers into the sea off Yemen's coast, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

The bodies were found buried in shallow graves on the beach in Shabwa.

IOM's medical staff also provided urgent care to the 27 surviving migrants, both females and males, who had remained on the beach. Some 13 people were still missing, and 100 others had entered into Yemen.

Crossing the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea is particularly unsafe because of strong currents and high winds. The war-torn country acts as an easy passage for smugglers because it has no central migration authority that can prevent such activities. "They drop them near the shore and turn around and get more".

According to a source within the IOM in the city of yemen Aden, "there were many women and children among those who are dead and those reported missing".

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

De Boeck expressed regret that the European Union is more focused on Mediterranean routes where smugglers have also cast migrants trying to reach Europe adrift.

  • Megan Austin