African refugees seized off Yemen

Nov. 7, 2009 at 9:42 AM

SANA‘A, Yemen, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A boat carrying refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea was seized in the territorial waters of Yemen, authorities said Saturday.

"The smuggling boat was carrying 64 African refuge-seekers, including eight Somalis and 56 Ethiopians and Eritreans," the coast guard said in a statement.

An estimated 36,000 refugees from African countries reached Yemen between January and August, a 33 percent increase over the same period last year, SABA reported Saturday.

An estimated 50,091 refugees reached Yemen last year aboard smugglers' boats, authorities said, noting nearly 590 drowned and another 359 were missing and presumed dead.

Yemeni officials estimate more than 800,000 Somali refugees are living in Yemen, while United Nations officials put the number at 160,000.

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