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UN says 34 migrants drown off Djibouti after boat capsizes

UN says 34 migrants drown off Djibouti after boat capsizes

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The International Organization for Migration says 34 migrants have died after their boat capsized off the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.

IOM regional director Mohammed Abdiker in Twitter posts on Monday said the migrants were being transported by smugglers. He didn’t give further details.

It is not immediately clear what countries the migrants who drowned were from, but many people seek to make the voyage from Ethiopia and Somalia. Fleeing poverty and other difficulties, they often seek to reach first Yemen, and then rich Persian Gulf nations.

In March, at least 20 migrants died after smugglers threw 80 people overboard during a voyage from Djibouti to Yemen.

In October, at least eight migrants drowned after smugglers forced them off a boat near Djibouti. In 2017, up to 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia drowned when a smuggler forced them into the sea off Yemen’s coast. And in 2018, at least 30 migrants and refugees died when a boat capsized off Yemen, with survivors reporting gunfire.