Eight migrants drown, 12 disappear while trying to reach Djibouti

The International Organization for Migration says at least eight migrants have drowned and 12 are missing after smugglers forced them off a boat near Djibouti.

The remaining 14 migrants survived and are receiving medical care, a statement said. All were thought to be Ethiopian and making the passage to Djibouti from Yemen — a reversal of the usual migrant voyage to seek work in richer Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Yemen have made the journey to Gulf nations more dangerous, and some migrants have turned back. It is believed this boatload of migrants had intentions of eventually making it to Saudi Arabia, the IOM statement said.

The IOM says 14,000 migrants, mostly Ethiopians, are stranded in Yemen trying to make their way back to their home country.

In the last three weeks alone, 2000 arrived in Djibouti, the IOM said.


Story compiled with assistance from Associated Press and Reuters