Nearly two dozen fleeing African violence die as boats sink

Boat at Gulf of Aden
At least 21 Somali and Ethiopian migrants died after a small fishing boat carrying 50 sank off Yemen, an official said on Thursday.

Nearly two dozen migrants fleeing violence in North Africa have drowned after boats carrying them sank in separate incidents.

At least 21 Somali and Ethiopian migrants died after a small fishing boat carrying 50 sank off Yemen, an official said on Thursday.

Hussein Hajji Ahmed, an official at the Somali embassy in Yemen, told the BBC Somali Service that at least 14 others are still missing as rescue operations continue.

“Yemen coast guards have confirmed me that 21 died, all Somalis except two Ethiopians. They also said that 14 missing, 12 of them are from Ethiopia and two from war-torn Somalia,” Ahmed explained.

The incident comes as a large number of Somalis have returned home fleeing from Yemen unrest.

At least 110 Somali refugees, including women, children and university students, have reached Bosaso, Puntland’s commercial port, by boat since late March.

Two more died after a very crowded boat carrying Somalis and others immigrants capsized off the Italian Island of Pantelleria. Another passenger is still missing, reports said on Thursday.

The boat, carrying about 200 mainly Somali immigrants, reportedly sank after high winds and waves caught it while nearing the coast.

Passengers jumped off the boat and swam ashore, according to the ANSA news agency.

Reports said that at least 11 women and six children were among the passengers of the capsized boat.

It is thought the boat had sailed from Libya. Its passengers were said to include migrants from Pakistan, Nigeria and Ghana.

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