At least 30 people drown off Yemen
Forty people rescued from vessel believed to be carrying some 120 migrants.
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2007 14:23 GMT
About 27,000 migrants made journeys by boat from Somalia last year, many of which capsize [AP]  

At least 30 Somali and Ethiopian migrants have drowned after a smuggler's boat capsized off the coast of Yemen, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.
Yemeni armed forces told the agency that they had rescued 40 people from the vessel, which migrants on other boats said had carried some 120 people.
Ron Redmond, a UNHCR spokesman, said: "Once again the Gulf of Aden has claimed the lives of at least 30 Somalis and Ethiopians when the boat smuggling them from Somalia to Yemen capsized on approach to the Yemeni coast on Monday."

Second incident

The agency said it was checking reports the death toll was as high as 78.

Redmond said the the higher death toll came from a construction company helping to bury the dead migrants along the coastline.

He said: "We know it is at least 30 and possibly as high as 78."

It was the second mass drowning of African migrants this month in the Gulf of Aden.

Fifteen Ethiopian and Somali migrants died after traffickers forced hundreds of passengers to disembark from two boats far from the Yemeni shore in early February.

Smugglers, usually Somali, often drop the migrants in deep waters as the Yemeni coastguard has increased patrols near shore, according to the UNHCR.

About 27,000 people made the perilous journey from Somalia last year, fleeing fighting in the volatile Horn of Africa nation between the Ethiopian army and the Islamic courts movement.

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