Up to 50 Somali, Ethiopian Migrants Deliberately Drowned off Yemen

More than 111,500 migrants landed on Yemen’s shores last year, up from around 100,000 the year before.

Somali and Ethiopian migrants drown off Yemen coast
IOM staff assist Somali and Ethiopian migrants who were forced into the sea by smugglers. (Photo: UN MIGRATION AGENCY)

BY IOM

Early this morning (09/08), a human smuggler, in charge of the boat, forced more than 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants into the pitching sea as they approached the coast of Shabwa, a Yemeni Governorate along the Arabian Sea.

The migrants had been hoping to reach countries in the Gulf via war-torn Yemen.

Shortly after the tragedy, staff from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, found the shallow graves of 29 migrants on a beach in Shabwa, during a routine patrol.



The dead had been buried rapidly by those who survived the smuggler’s deadly actions. IOM is working closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross to ensure appropriate care for the deceased migrants’ remains.

IOM’s medical staff also provided urgent care to the 27 surviving migrants, both females and males, who had remained on the beach.

IOM provided initial health checks and assistance, including food, water and other emergency relief. Some of the survivors had already left the beach before being assisted. 22 migrants are reportedly still missing and unaccounted for. The approximate average age of the passengers on the boat was 16.

“The survivors told our colleagues on the beach that the smuggler pushed them to the sea, when he saw some ‘authority types’ near the coast,” explained Laurent de Boeck, the IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.

“They also told us that the smuggler has already returned to Somalia to continue his business and pick up more migrants to bring to Yemen on the same route. This is shocking and inhumane. The suffering of migrants on this migration route is enormous. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future,” continued de Boeck.



Since January 2017 to date, IOM estimates that around 55,000 migrants left the Horn of Africa to come to Yemen, most with the aim of trying to find better opportunities in the Gulf countries.

More than 30,000 of those migrants are under the age of 18 from Somalia and Ethiopia, while a third are estimated to be female.

This journey is especially hazardous during the current windy season in the Indian Ocean.

Smugglers are active in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, offering fake promises to vulnerable migrants.

IOM and its partners operate across the region to support these migrants and provide lifesaving assistance to those who find themselves abused or stranded along the route.

  • wedinakfa

    RIP to all those who lost their lives, the blame is squarely on USA particularly President Obama, who praised, cajoled and dined with the ruthless killers at Addis has a lot to answer for all this loss of humans!! obviously Obama is the First Black president, all it mattered to him is being first BLACK President his HOPE was the killing of East Africans while appeasing brutal ruthless killers, President Obama Thanks a lot!!!

    • Ray bs

      Obama is the 2nd black president after martin luther king

      But obama is the first black to be re-elected

  • Snake

    Most of these immigrants may God have mercy on their souls are the Ethiopians from the Oromos ethnic groups, none of them are Somalis matter of fact the Somalis are leaving Yemen and alongside the Yemenis to Somali, Somali currently has 28 camps full of 2 millions Yemeni refugees.

    • Abdullahi Nuunow

      I strongly condemn the Puntland administration which has made a livelihood out of humantrafficking and murder of the children, the weak and the innocent. Worse yet the Puntland administration after having killed these refugees then turned around and called on the UN Somalia Group to provide their administration with funds to fight piracy and the very humantrafficking and murder which it(Puntland) commited. This beggs the question: is the UN Somalia group part of this crime?

      The ship left the port city of Bosaso in Puntland and the refugees were killed a few hours later by being pushed off the boats and drowned.

      I hurts to think the UN in Somalia could even be suspected of beng in on thia crime but how else to explain a delagation flew in to Puntland the next day and discussed the dispursment of funds to fight Piracy and “refugee issues” ? Somalis were expecting condemnations and sanctions on Puntland which is known among Somalis as the Piracy epicenter and home of terrorism and crime.

      • Snake

        Somalia has too many small ports so these smugglers are using these small ports, its true most of the human traffickers have bases in Puntland state of Somalia but the Puntland armed troops full attention is on the pirates, al Qaeda and ISIS etc and have no time for these human traffickers, I think its job of United nation to give these others ways, also the Ethiopians are running from woyana thugs so the UNSC should put pressure on woyana to reform and give their better better lives rather then fleeing to Somalia to be smuggled into Yemen.

        Yemen is the worse place to go its a war tore country there’s too many armed groups along side al Qaeda and ISIS, even they’re lucky to reach Saudi Arabia they will still go to jail, so why put your lives in danger, No body forced these people they went willingly.

        The Ethiopians who are fleeing woyana they can claim refugee status in somalia, Somalia is 100% times better then Yemen.

        • John

          Puntland is a pirate infested, terrorist infested(Isis and AL Shabaab) entity. It must be destroyed.

          • Shire

            This infarmation is told you from Hawiye donkey clan in Minnabolis. All this Terrorist and Pirate is 98% from Galmudug region of Somalia and Mogadishu.

          • John

            Are you still crying over Puntland’s defeat in Gaalkacyo city by the more rough and tough Galmudug forces?

            Piracy and human trafficking of poor Ethiopian migrants will not be tolerated.

            In the view of the international community Gaalkacyo city is part of Galmudug region of Somalia as this has been written into the Federal Charter Constitution.

      • Indoguran

        Abdullahi Nuunow

        Puntland government called in the US AIRFORCE to bomb your savage and naked Galmudug ragtag militias and we killed 24 of your ragtag militias. We told the Americans your ragtag militias were terrorist and the Americans fell for it and bombed you to pieces.

        This is the different between Puntland(Darood) and Galmudug(Hawiye savages) is that in Puntland we get the whites EU and America and UN to dance to our tune while you are humanwaste slave Hawiye cannonfodder for their weapons.

        UN can not save you or interfere Puntland’s iternal affairs.

        • Norm

          Summary of conversation so far:

          1. America is nothing more than toiletpaper Puntland uses to wipe shit from its shitty behind(Galmudug) and then discard.

          2. United Nations is nothing more than a slot machine Puntland plays again and again.

          3. Only Ethiopian Oromo refugees are killed by Puntland government so it does not count as they are viewed as sub-human.

          • Geedi

            Indoguran

            GAALKACYO is part and parcel of Galmudug and no amount of your insults will change that.