The UN says 30 African refugees and migrants drowned off the coast of Yemen this week in a boat heading toward Djibouti operated by smugglers who are reported to have fired on passengers.
“Survivors of the incident have reported to UN and partner staff that an over-crowded boat packed with at least 152 Somalis and Ethiopians departed on Tuesday from the Al Buraiqa coast in Aden in a boat headed across the Gulf of Aden towards Djibouti,” the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said in a statement.
“The boat capsized amid reports of gunfire being used against the passengers.”
The IOM said the vessel is believed to have been operated by “unscrupulous smugglers” who tried “to extort more money” from the migrants.
Survivors reported gunfire as the boat capsized.
Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war pitting a Saudi-led coalition backing an internationally recognized government against Iran-backed Shiite rebels since March 2015.
The IOM says Yemen’s conflict has subjected refugees and migrants to risk of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest and trafficking.