OVER 50 refugees are believed to have drowned yesterday after being forced into the sea by smugglers who feared capture, the United Nations migration body said.
Only five bodies have been recovered, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said, but 50 others are unaccounted for after 180 people were forced overboard near the coast of Yemen.
The mass drowning — with many of the mostly Somali and Ethiopian people on board already malnourished and weak when they entered the water — is the second in two days. Fifty African teenagers drowned on Wednesday when a 120-strong boatload were dumped.
The first outrage was assumed to be an act of brutality by panicked people-smugglers who had spotted coastguard or naval vessels which might apprehend them, but the repeat killing could indicate the start of a murderous new trend, IOM spokeswoman Olivia Headon told the Reuters news agency.
“Smugglers know the situation is dangerous for them and they could be shot at, so they drop them near the shore and turn around and get more,” she said.
Thousands of Yemenis have been killed in a relentless Saudi bombing campaign aimed at overthrowing the country’s Houthi authorities and reinstating former president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was toppled in an armed uprising.
Even so, thousands of refugees from war-torn African countries such as Somalia see Yemen as a gateway to an escape to the Gulf states or Europe. The IOM estimates that 55,000 have tried to make the journey this year.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.