18 African migrants drown off Yemen coast

April 13th, 2008 - 2:26 am ICT by admin  

Sanaa, April 13 (DPA) At least 18 African migrants died after smugglers forced them to jump off a boat at gunpoint Saturday as they neared the end of a trip across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia to Yemen, Yemeni officials said. The officials said that the boat was carrying 120 refuge-seekers, most of them Somalis, and that 102 of them managed to swim to the coast of Ahwar in the southern Yemen province of Abyan.

A local official in Abyan, some 450 km from Sanaa, said the survivors were 82 Somalis and 20 Ethiopians.

A breakdown for the nationalities of the dead was not available, he said.

The official, who requested anonymity, said local fishermen in the area rescued the survivors and recovered the bodies of the dead.

“Bodies of the victims are being buried by locals in the Malha area of Ahwar district,” he said.

Many African migrants try to reach Yemen, which they see as a gateway to other parts of the Middle East, and the West.

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