U.N. agency reports 20 die in Gulf of Aden

Dec. 2, 2008 at 2:57 PM
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SANAA, Yemen, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- At least 20 people drowned off the coast of Yemen and two others are missing after smugglers forced them overboard, a U.N. agency said.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said the incident occurred Monday in the Gulf of Aden during a journey from the Horn of Africa, the United Nations said in a news release issued from New York.

"The boat was reportedly carrying around 115 passengers, mostly Ethiopians," said panel spokesman Ron Redmond in Geneva, where UNHCR is based.

Twenty bodies were recovered, two people were missing and the 93 remaining passengers made it to shore after being forced overboard near Ahwar, the agency's staff in southern Yemen said.

According to UNHCR, more than 43,500 people have arrived in Yemen in 850 smuggling boats so far in 2008 after crossing the Gulf of Aden from Somalia, the organization said. At least 380 people have died and about 360 are missing.

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