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Smugglers throw migrants in Yemen Sea, 5 die, 50 missing

Smugglers throw migrants in Yemen Sea, 5 die, 50 missing

Survivors, thought to number about 70, told the IOM that smugglers had pushed them into the sea after seeing "authority types" on the coast.

Already this year 55,000 migrants have taken the hazardous route from the Horn of Africa to Yemen to seek possible opportunities offered in the Gulf, the IOM said. "That's very attractive for them, and then their families push them out and ask them to do the same - to find a job and bring remittance back home".

"The smugglers are panicking", De Boeck said, but added that reinforced border controls along the coast could be having a counter-productive effect.

Mr de Boeck said the smuggler had seen a military boat and was scared he would be arrested.

After migrants were forced into the seas on Thursday, the migration agency counted five bodies. Twenty-two migrants are reportedly still missing and unaccounted for.

"What it comes down to is that they know the risks, but they've got this pitch that has been sold to them by these salesmen, these absolute criminals". The UN migration agency found more than 20 survivors on a beach.

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"These people are really thin". Numerous boat's passengers were teenagers. "Some may not have had much strength to make it alive to the shore", she said.

About 42 of the migrants are expected to have survived, 27 of them were still present when IOM staffers arrived at the beach.

Many of those thrown overboard were children, with the average age of passengers being 16.

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. One-third are women. In spite of the war in Yemen, African migrants continue to choose this route because there is no central authority that can prevent them from undertaking their trip.

Dujarric said the situation for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara desert are "just as heartbreaking" as the tragedy unfolding off Yemen.

Migrants travelling from Djibouti pay about $150, while migrants travelling from northern Somalia pay between $200 and $250 because the route to Yemen is longer.