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War Deg-Deg ah

Ten Die in Gulf of Aden Smuggling Incident

The United Nations refugee agency says at least 10 people have died in a migrant smuggling incident in the Gulf of Aden.

The agency says a boat set sail from Somalia's northern Puntland region on Sunday with 25 people stuffed into an unventilated engine room.

Seven hours after the vessel departed for Yemen, officials say the smugglers discovered that 10 Ethiopians had suffocated. Survivors say the bodies were thrown overboard.

The agency says four other passengers drowned on Tuesday, after the smugglers forced all passengers to disembark in rough waters and too far from the coast.

Authorities say about 100 passengers, most of them Ethiopians, managed to swim to Yemen's shore near al Hamra.

The U.N. condemned as "unscrupulous and inhumane" the treatment of refugees fleeing violence and human rights abuses in their homelands.

Tens of thousands of East Africans cross the Gulf of Aden each year to escape poverty or violence.

The refugee agency said that 108 people have died in risky crossings since the start of this year, compared to only 15 in all of 2010.

The agency added that that more than 9,000 Somalis and 27,000 Ethiopians have arrived in Yemen by boat so far this year.