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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Africa: Migrant boats sink, many feared dead

from the Herald Sun:

AT LEAST 16 people died and many more were feared drowned after a boat crossing to Yemen from the Horn of Africa sank with more than 115 passengers on board, Somalia media said today.

The boat, carrying mostly Ethiopians and Somalis, left the coast of Somalia's breakaway northern Puntland region last Thursday. Local reports said it may have been overloaded.
"We are seeing more than 16 dead bodies out at sea," Yusuf Shiek, a resident of Dhagcaan village, told Modnimo Radio in nearby Bosaso town. "Some of the crew reached the shore alive."

Somalis fleeing their war-torn homeland and Ethiopians in search of better economic prospects often attempt the hazardous 300km crossing to the oil-rich Gulf region.

In April, more than 100 Ethiopian refugees drowned when their boat collided with a Somali vessel also carrying refugees.

Meanwhile, an unconfirmed report today said another boat carrying more than 95 people was feared lost when it failed to arrive in Yemen after leaving the Somali coast last Wednesday.

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