About 50 Somali and Ethiopian refugees، mostly teenagers، were "deliberately" drowned on Wednesday by a human smuggler who forced 120 migrants into the sea off Yemen's coast، the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
IOM medical personnel treated 27 survivors, who were both male and female, while a further 22 people that had been onboard are reportedly still missing.
At least 29 migrants have died and 22 others missing in the Arabian sea after having been forced by their traffickers to jump to the sea off the coast of Yemen, reported Wednesday the worldwide Organization for migration (IOM).
Twenty nine dead bodies washed up on the shore after Wednesday's tragedy while twenty-seven others made it alive to the shore, it said.
Migrants try to make their way to the oil-rich Gulf countries.
But economic and environmental factors in Somalia and Ethiopia, where most of the migrants come from, have left young people feeling there is no future for them at home.
The agency said it feared the incidents might mark the start of a new trend in people-smuggling that could lead to more deaths.
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Yemen is in the midst of a protracted civil war and an outbreak of cholera, but migrants and refugees continue to arrive in their thousands, hoping to pass through and reach wealthy Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.
Many of those thrown overboard were children, with the average age of passengers being 16. "They (the smugglers) are basically continuing their business by killing people", he said. However, the route is increasingly risky because of the war and migrants often end up in the hands of unscrupulous militia and bandits. "They drop them near the shore and turn around and get more".
According to IOM, around 50 migrants are missing and at least five died after smugglers pushed about 180 migrants overboard off the coast of Yemen.
"It will continue to be a trend, the smugglers bring migrants; the Yemen war doesn't stop them", De Boeck said.
Ethiopians are also facing acute hunger, with the United Nations saying at least 8.5 million people in the country are in need of immediate food assistance. "So, the migrants had a choice", she said.
De Boeck called the suffering of migrants on the route enormous, especially during the current windy season on the Indian Ocean.
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.