A boat carrying 60 migrants capsized off the coast of Djibouti in eastern Africa, causing 34 migrants to drown, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday, during what was the second migratory drowning incident that occurred over a two-week period.
Survivors reported that the boat capsized in the rough sea around 4 o’clock (afternoon GMT) after leaving Yemen with about 60 passengers on board, an IOM official in Djibouti told Agence France-Presse (AFP) and asked not to be named.
“Migrants were transported by human traffickers,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s regional director for East Africa and the Horn of Africa, adding on Twitter: “Arresting and prosecuting traffickers and smugglers who exploit migrants’ vulnerabilities must become a priority. Too many lives lost unnecessarily. “
There were “many children” among the bodies found, the first official said, adding that survivors received treatment from the IOM and local authorities.
The boat capsized in the sea north of the port city of Djibouti, an important transit point for thousands of African migrants in the region trying to reach the bay.
A similar accident follows on March 4, when 20 people drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard during a trip between Djibouti and Yemen across the Gulf of Aden.
At least 200 migrants, including children, were packed on board the ship as it left Djibouti.
But about 30 minutes into the voyage, the smugglers panicked over the weight on board and threw 80 people into the sea before returning to land.
Two similar incidents in October claimed the lives of at least 50 migrants.
Every year, thousands of migrants make dangerous boat trips from the Horn of Africa to war-torn Yemen, many with the aim of traveling overland to the Gulf nations in search of work.
Thousands of migrants are believed to be stranded in Yemen, where a years-long conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions in what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The strait that separates Djibouti from Yemen is unusual in that it sees migrants and refugees passing in both directions, masses of Yemenis flee to Africa to flee war, while others go in the opposite direction carrying African migrants to the Arabian Peninsula in search of better opportunities. .