At Least 20 Migrants Dead after Thrown into Sea off Djibouti

DJIBOUTI (Somaliguardian) – At least 20 people drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard on Wednesday during a crossing between Djibouti and Yemen, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Thursday.

The migrants were aboard a vessel that left Qulebi in Djibouti in the early hours of Wednesday for Yemen across the Gulf of Aden, survivors told the IOM, adding that least 200 migrants, including children, were packed aboard the vessel.

Shortly after vessel began its voyage, the smugglers panicked about the number of people on board and threw 80 into the sea before turning the vessel back toward land, said Yvonne Ndege, IOM regional spokesperson for the East and Horn of Africa.

“Survivors believe at least 20 people have been killed. There are still some unaccounted for. Five bodies washed up onshore,” Ndege told AFP.

Survivors have been admitted to a hospital in the Djibouti port town of Oboch, which is a major transit hub for thousands of African migrants in the region trying to reach Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.

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