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At least 16 dead in latest migrant boat tragedy off the coast of Djibouti

Bodies of victims from a boat that capsized off the coast of Djibouti   -  
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At least 16 people have died and 28 others are missing after a migrant boat capsized off the coast of Djibouti.

It is the latest tragedy on the perilous so-called Eastern Migration Route from Africa to the Middle East.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says 77 people, including children, were on board, and that it is assisting local authorities with search and rescue efforts.

Every year, tens of thousands of African migrants brave the "Eastern Route" across the Red Sea, travelling through war-torn Yemen in the hope of reaching Saudi Arabia.

They are escaping conflict, natural disasters, or just seeking better economic opportunities.

Djibouti is the main transit country for migrants trying to reach Gulf nations, as the distance is about 26 kilometres across the sea at the closest point.

The IOM says the route is dangerous as migrants are targeted by traffickers and can face kidnap, arbitrary arrest, and forced recruitment into warring groups, particularly in Yemen.

Just two weeks ago, another boat carrying mainly Ethiopian migrants sank off the Djibouti coast, claiming dozens of lives.

They were reportedly trying to return to the Horn of Africa after fleeing Yemen where thousands of migrants are stranded and trapped.

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