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May 2013 – Increase in forced landings, gender based violence and interceptions at sea

May 2013 – Increase in forced landings, gender based violence and interceptions at sea

11Data collected by patrol teams along the south-western coast of Yemen shows an increase in the number of incidents of forced landings, gender based violence  and interceptions at sea during the month of May. 350 boats were reported to have landed in the month of May, departing from Obock, Loyade and Zeila in Djibouti, and all landing on the Taiz coast. The boats carried an estimated 2,976 Somalis and 23,207 non-Somali passengers (predominantly Ethiopian).

A forced landing is when an individual is forced to leave the smuggler’s vessel while still at sea, often to ensure that the smuggler evades capture by the coastguard or the Yemeni military on shore. Forced landings are extremely hazardous for migrants, as many cannot swim. There were 197 incidents of forced landings in May 2013, compared to 24 incidents in April 2013. In addition to the number of forced landings, there were many incidents of passengers intentionally jumping from boats while still at sea, either to avoid abuse and violence at the hands of the smugglers, or to evade capture by inland gangs awaiting their arrival. At least one Somali female died from drowning as a result of the forced landings during May.

Reports of gender based violence also increased in May 2013, with 68 reports compared to 49 in April. All reports were from female new arrivals. At least 3 Ethiopians were killed in May. In one instance, migrants reported witnessing as an ailing migrant (having been severely physically assaulted by his abductors), buried alive as a way of intimidating other hostages. He died. Two other Ethiopians were also reportedly shot dead possibly while trying to escape from their captors. 2,810 reports of abduction were received in May 2013.

Interceptions at sea also increased with escalating operations by the Yemeni military against the smugglers’ boats. 280 reports of interception at sea were received in May, as opposed to 37 in April. Somalis are mostly released by the military, whereas Ethiopians are arrested and transported to Taiz prison, from where they may face deportation by the government.

 

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