Refugees Drown as Navy Looks On

More than a dozen Somali refugees drowned while crossing the Gulf of Aden this week while a naval boat ignored cries for help, reports say. Nearly 100 people have drowned in the first months of the year attempting to make the voyage across the Gulf of Aden.

Two boats carrying a handful of Somali and Ethiopian refugees ran into strong winds and rough waters quickly after it set sail from an area known as Puntland in April. The boat stayed afloat until it got to the Yemeni coast the next day, but the boat remained at sea in an attempt to avoid detection by the Yemeni coast guard.

But by then passengers were dehydrated and hungry, and began shouting at cargo vessels and foreign naval ships. Even though the unidentified naval ship approached their boat, it ignored their pleas for help, reports say.

The second boat, carrying mostly Ethiopians, arrived at the coast a day later, with smugglers forcing their passengers to swim to shore. At least one man died.

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