Yemen: African migrants thrown into the sea

Up To 50 Migrants Killed Off Coast Of Yemen After Smuggler Forces Them Overboard

Scores of migrants 'deliberately drowned' by traffickers near Yemen

IOM says around 55,000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa headed for Yemen since the start of the year, most aiming to find work in Gulf countries.

According to IOM all the survivors are either Ethiopian or Somali migrants.

The IOM counted 125 survivors from Thursday's incident, five confirmed dead and a further 50 missing, presumed drowned.

He said 2,405 people have died or disappeared during their attempts to cross the Mediterranean and more than 265 people have died or were missing while traveling across the Sahara trying to reach the sea.

Secretary General Guterres is "heartbroken by this continuing tragedy", according to a statement read by spokesman Stephane Dujarric in NY.

He also encouraged the creation of legal pathways for migration.

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

"This is shocking and inhumane", de Boeck continued.

"So they are generally very astonished when we tell them they have entered a war, which is a reason why they don't really believe us and they don't follow advice to go back home". Just by making land they feel "they are halfway to wealthy".

Survivors told the IOM that the smuggler pushed about 120 people into the sea after he thought he had seen some "authority-type" figures off the Yemeni coast.

Twenty-nine of the migrants were found buried in graves on a beach in Shabwa by IOM staff on Wednesday.

The average age of passengers on the boat was 16, it added.

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"It is indeed a very dramatic situation", Laurent de Boeck, the agency's Yemen chief of mission, reportedly told Al Jazeera.

The migrants, who included some young women, had headed to war-torn Yemen in order to seek opportunities in Gulf countries.

"Boats are making this journey all the time where people are being abused and raped on route so that their families will pay more..."

The boat was carrying 140 people, said the United Nations in denouncing a breach of worldwide humanitarian law.

Numerous migrants who arrive in Yemen after being sold on fake promises end up returning home.

The group, which included Gambians and Senegalese, said they had been abandoned by their driver.

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