News comment by UNHCR's Spokesperson, William Spindler, on the death of Eight Somali refugees off Yemen

Text read by UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler – to whom it may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Our partners in Yemen reported last Friday the deaths of eight Somali refugees who fell into the sea while boarding a smugglers’ boat near the locality of Al-Sudaf in Lahj governorate, in southern Yemen. The refugees, seven men and a woman, fell overboard when the smugglers abruptly started the engine and tried to flee an approaching vessel of the Yemeni coastguard. The woman was apparently hit in the head by the ship’s propeller and died as a result. The others drowned. The boat, which was carrying over 100 Somali refugees, was intercepted and taken into custody by the Yemeni coastguard. Its final destination was reportedly the Sudanese coast.

This latest incident highlights the dangers of crossing the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea from Africa to Yemen, a route taken by more than 117,000 refugees and migrants last year. Today, UNHCR launched an information campaign to spread awareness in the region about the desperate conditions and dangerous situation created by the conflict in Yemen.

 

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