18 December 2012

Somalia: 20 Bodies Wash Up On Shore After Boat Sinks Off Puntland Coast

Bossaso — Bossaso residents woke on Tuesday to a gruesome site of 20 bodies that washed up on the port city's shore after a vessel carrying illegal migrants sank in the Red Sea, Garowe Online reports.

Puntland authorities told media that there were at least 60 Somali and Ethiopian migrants on the vessel, 20 bodies washed up on shore. Only 5 survivors have been found, and are being treated at Bossaso Public Hospital.

According to the Puntland authorities, the migrants traveled 10 KMs from the Bossaso shore sometime Monday morning.

The bodies of the 20 people were taken to Bossaso hospital for identification.

Deputy Minister of Health Zaynab Ugaas Yasin who gave a press statement described the incident as a "tragedy", adding that the Puntland government has taken measures to reduce human trafficking but cases still occur.

"The Puntland government has reduced the cases of human trafficking and smuggling however there are tragic cases like these that remind the Puntland government to continue improving its struggle with these illegal trades," said Minister Zaynab.

According to Puntland authorities, the 60 people that died on the boat paid large sums of money to travel to neighboring countries.

Puntland security officials told media that they were investigating the incident and sending teams to check for more bodies at sea.

Human smuggling to Yemen from northeastern Puntland has reduced over the past years, but has not ceased as of yet.

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