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Numerous Deaths in Gulf of Aden

By Prensa Latina

United Nations : More than 130 Somalis died last weekend trying to cross the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen, reported UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR.

According to the agency, one of the smugglers ordered his 135 passengers to jump into the sea fearing capture by Yemen authorities. Those who refused were beaten and knifed before the boat was overturned by waves.

As a result 114 passengers and two smugglers drowned.

This incident followed another that caused the deaths of 10 women and six children who were part of a group of 29 Somalis aboard a two motor boat that overturned due to strong winds, after four days at sea.

The 13 surviving men said that four children died for lack of food, water and sun exposure while two others drowned.

During the first 19 days of January, UNHCR spokespersons reported that 157 persons were reported dead as a result of the dangerous Gulf of Aden crossing that last year cost the lives of 1,400 persons.

Statistics of the body informed that, during this part of the year 2,452 persons have reached Yemen, the majority Somali.

In 2007, 29,500 reached the Yemen coast in search of safety despite repeated calls by the United Nations to prevent the dangerous crossing in small vessels in the hands of unscrupulous persons.

The majority are escaping the violence in Somalia and make the crossing in the hopes of a better life.