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28 Somali Emigrant Drown near Shabwa Coasts; 35 More Die Near Taiz’s Dhubab Coast

  Written By: Moneer Al-Omari ( YEMEN POST STAFF ) 
  Article Date:
October 06, 2008



On Saturday, 35 African refugees died near Dhubab coast of Taiz when their boat flipped over. Only five managed to live the tragedy.

This comes as waves of Somali refugees continue to arrive to Yemen, as the number of refugees trying to enter  the country nearly tripled since the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, as Yemenis were celebrating Eid Al-Fitr, Interior Ministry sources revealed that twenty-eight illegal Somali migrants died when their boat capsized off Yemen's southern coasts.

The same sources reported that strong winds and high waves were to blame for the incident. Only 15 corpses have been recovered so far and the number is rising as coastguard and fishermen find more bodies.

According to a source from Coastguard Forces, out of 51 illegal immigrants who were boarding the capsized boat, 23 survived the incident. Earlier last week, 187 Somalis survived hazardous journeys in wrecked boats to Yemeni coasts of Shabwa, Lahj and Hadramout.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported last week that 52 Somalis died after being adrift for 18 days in a smuggler boat ferrying them to Yemen.

Over 20,000 Somalis and around 9,800 Ethiopians desperate to flee their war-torn country have successfully crossed the Gulf of Aden into Yemen in 2008. For most of them, Yemen is not a favored destination and is only a transit from which they can travel to the rich Gulf, European countries or America.

The smugglers receive some 70 to 200 dollars from each person wishing to take the life or death journey to Yemen.

Attacks by pirates, violent treatment by smugglers and high sea-waters are responsible for increased death and missing cases.

Observers note that there will be increased infiltrations into the country, especially when the situation in Somalia is tense after the renewal of fighting between Islamic Courts Union on one hand and Ethiopian and Somali army forces on the other.

Though official sources estimate the number of refugees in Yemen to be over 500,000, the Mission of U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) puts the figures at over 200,000.

According to USCRI, 110,600 of the total refugees are Somali.

Since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, an estimated 11,000 Iraqi refugees have   also arrived to Yemen, adding to the already 70,000 Iraqis who established themselves during the Iran-Iraq war.