The bodies of 25 migrants have been recovered off the coast of Yemen after their boat, reportedly carrying up to 200 people, capsized, a provincial official told AFP news agency.
“The boat overturned two days ago and was carrying between 160 and 200 people,” said Jalil Ahmed Ali from the Lahij provincial authority, citing information given by Yemeni smugglers.
The fate of the other people on board was unclear.
Fishermen in southern Yemen told AFP they had recovered the 25 bodies of victims who appeared to be of African origin – some of the many who try to reach Yemen before crossing into the Gulf states.
The fishermen said the bodies were floating in the waters of the Ras al-Ara area in the southern province of Lahij, overlooking the Bab el-Mandeb Strait off the coast of Djibouti.
“We saw the bodies floating in the water 10 miles (16km) from the shores of Ras al-Ara,” said one of the fishermen.
The UN’s International Organization for Migration confirmed to AFP that a boat sank in the area but said it was still trying to establish the details of the incident.
Despite the conflict in Yemen, migrants continue to travel there in the hopes of moving through to find work in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich states whose economies depend on millions of foreign labourers.
Migrants often find themselves stranded in Yemen, which is mired in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis after six years of conflict.
In recent months, dozens of migrants have died in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that separates Djibouti from Yemen, a major route for international trade but also for human trafficking.