As many as 130 migrants feared drowned in shipwrecks off Djibouti

Five bodies were recovered immediately and the IOM said Djiboutian authorities found more dead on Wednesday

Five bodies were recovered immediately and the IOM said Djiboutian authorities found more dead on Wednesday

The U.N. migration agency says 28 bodies have been found after some 130 migrants went missing off Djibouti when two boats capsized.

Police have so far found two survivors and five bodies, said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Witnesses said large waves caused the overloaded boats to tip over about a half-hour after departing.

One survivor estimated there were 130 people on his boat, but wasn't able to say the number of passengers on the other vessel.

Located across the Bab el-Mandeb strait from Yemen and next to volatile Somalia and Ethiopia, Djibouti has in recent years become a transit point for migrants heading to find work on the Arabian Peninsula.

The crossing is risky, with smugglers in some cases forcing migrants overboard before reaching their destination. According to the almost 7,000 migrants registered at the centers between January and July 2018, a "vast majority" were Ethiopian, young and male and headed toward Saudi Arabia.

The U.N. migration agency operates a migrant response center in the Obock region where Tuesday morning's capsizing occurred as well as four similar centers in neighboring Somalia and Ethiopia.

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The route also sees a flow of migrants from Yemen toward the Horn of Africa as people flee war.

This migration continues even though Yemen is facing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

More than 700 migrants have died in the past five years during boat journeys from the Horn of African to Yemen, according to the United Nations organization.

Once they arrive in Yemen they could face torture, blackmail, sexual abuse or forced labour.

The strategic sea crossing has repeatedly proven perilous.

In August 2017, dozens of migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia died after human traffickers forced them off two Yemen-bound boats and into the sea.

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