20 migrants drown after forced off boat by smugglers off Djibouti coast

IOM/Alexander Bee Migrants rescued from a vessel off the coast of Djibouti are accommodated at a rescue centre. (file)

At least 20 migrants have drowned and several are missing after human smugglers forced them off a boat near Djibouti, IOM confirmed.

Yvonne Ndege, IOM regional spokesperson spoke to Anadolu Agency said the boat, carrying 200 migrants, left Oulebi in Djibouti at 2 a.m.

But survivors told IOM that, half an hour later, the smugglers judged the boat was overloaded and threw at least 80 passengers off.

“The boat left from Oulebi, Djibouti, with 200 migrants, including women and children. The smugglers started shouting there were too many people on board and started throwing people into the sea. The survivors are being treated at the IOM’s Migrant Response Center in Djibouti,” she said.

This is not the first time that smugglers have forced migrants off the boats.

In 2020, 12 people from Horn of Africa region were “deliberately drowned” when they were forced into the water off Yemen’s coast

The previous year, 8 migrants dead and 12 went missing at sea after being forced off a boat by smugglers off the coast of Djibouti. The migrants were traveling from Yemen.

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