At least 20 people drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard during a crossing between Djibouti and Yemen, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Thursday.
Survivors told the IOM that at least 200 migrants, including children, were packed aboard the vessel when it left Oulebi in Djibouti in the early hours of Wednesday for Yemen across the Gulf of Aden.
About thirty minutes into the voyage, the smugglers panicked about the number of people onboard and threw 80 into the sea before turning the vessel back toward land, said Yvonne Ndege, IOM regional spokesperson for the East and Horn of Africa.
There are fears the death toll could rise with survivors unable to locate family they say were aboard, Ndege said.
It is the third such incident in the Gulf of Aden in less than six months. The nationalities of those aboard the vessel are not yet known, the IOM said.