Sanaa (AFP) – At least 35 African migrants went missing after their boat capsized in bad weather off southwest Yemen on Monday, a military official said.
Authorities have rescued eight Ethiopians and five Somalis, including a woman, and the body of another Somali has been retrieved from the boat which was carrying 49 people, General Saleh al-Sabbari told the official Saba news agency.
Strong currents and high waves overturned the boat off the city of Dhubab as it was sailing through the Bab al-Mandab separating the Arabian Peninsula from east Africa, said Saba.
It said search operations were ongoing.
African migrants, especially Ethiopians and Somalis fleeing poverty and unrest at home, generally slip into southern Yemen by boat before heading north towards the Saudi frontier.
In December, Yemen said 70 migrants had died when their vessel capsized in bad weather near the Bab al-Mandab strait.
On May 31 last year, 60 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia along with two Yemeni crew members drowned, according to the UN refugee agency.
In the past five years, more than 500,000 people — mostly Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis — have reached Yemen following treacherous journeys on vessels that are often overloaded.