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Fri 3 Oct 2008 10:43 AM

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28 Somali migrants die off Yemen

Boat capsize in Gulf of Aden sees migrants drown after desperate bid to flee war-ravaged Somalia.

28 Somali migrants die off Yemen
MIGRANTS DROWN: File photograph of a boat loaded with immigrants in the Gulf of Aden. (AFP)

Twenty-eight Somali migrants died when their boat capsized off Yemen, the Yemeni interior ministry said on Thursday.

The boat, carrying 51 people, including 17 women, overturned on Wednesday due to strong winds and high waves when Yemeni coastguards ordered the vessel to stop off southeast Shabwa province, it said in a statement posted on its website.

Twenty-three survived the incident in the Gulf of Aden, the ministry said, adding that only 11 bodies were recovered.

The incident came one day after 187 Somalis made it to Yemeni shores in Shabwa and Hadramaut provinces, the ministry said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had said on Sunday that at least 52 Somali nationals died in the Gulf of Aden as they tried to make their way to Yemen.

Engine failure on the errant boat in which they were travelling left the passengers without food or water for 18 days. Seventy-one survived after being saved by Yemeni coastguards, it said.

Desperate to flee war-ravaged Somalia, each of the would-be immigrants paid smugglers between 70 and 200 dollars for the journey to Yemen.

The UN agency estimates more than 250 people have died and around 225 have gone missing in the Gulf of Aden since the start of the year.

It also says more than 20,000 Somalis and around 9,800 Ethiopians have successfully crossed the Gulf of Aden in 2008.

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