Monday, April 16, 2007

Boat Capsizes Near Yemen; 62 Feared Dead

A smugglers' boat carrying Somali migrants capsized off Yemen's coast and at least 62 were feared dead, officials and local media said. Survivors told authorities that the human traffickers forced them into the sea after seeing the Yemeni coast guard. It was not immediately clear when the boat, which was believed to be carrying 96 Somalis, capsized. About 32 Somalis were rescued, a security official in the coastal Abyan province said, speaking on condition of anonymity.Another local official, also requesting anonymity, said survivors were taken to the Kharaz refugee camp in the city of Aden, 320 kilometres south of the capital San'a. The local Al Ayman newspaper, quoting unnamed witnesses, reported that 16 bodies had washed ashore and more could be seen floating in the sea. Thousands of migrants try to reach Yemen from the Horn of Africa, where violence has escalated since Ethiopia intervened in the armed struggle between Somalia's UN-supported interim government and Islamic groups. A week ago, Yemen said about 5,000 illegal migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia had arrived since January.

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