Gulf of Aden engulfs 60 migrants

More than 60 migrants, mostly Somalians, died while crossing the Gulf of Aden on their way to Yemen.

Twenty-five others survived and managed to reach the Yemeni southern shores of Redhoum in the Shabwah province, after their boat capsized in the waters Wednesday night, a security official here said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

He said fishermen informed the authorities Wednesday night of seeing bodies floating in the water. The army and the local citizens took part in a rescue operation.

The 25 survivors were taken to the refugee camp in the city of Lahij north of Aden. Witnesses said the dead were buried in mass graves Thursday by the local people and the soldiers.

It was not immediately clear how the boat had capsized and some survivors claimed there were six refugees missing.

The U.N. refugee agency has reported that at least 439 migrants have died while crossing the Gulf of Aden this year and at least another 489 are missing.

Migrants from the Horn of Africa - particularly from Somalia where ongoing violence between the U.N.-supported interim government and Islamic groups has caused thousands to flee their homes - regularly face abuse at the hands of smugglers at sea.

Some are attacked during the journey and thrown overboard into shark-infested waters, while smugglers often force passengers to disembark offshore to avoid Yemeni coast guard patrols.

The high season for human trafficking across the Gulf usually runs from early September to May when the sea is less stormy than during summer. More than 10,000 people have reportedly arrived in Yemen by boat this year.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova