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60 Yemenis feared drowned after boat goes missing in Arabian Sea

In this file photo, the Djibouti coastguard escorts boats carrying refugees from Yemen into the port of Obock. (Photo by the UNHCR)

Dozens of people are feared drowned in the Arabian Sea days after their vessel disappeared off the coast of war-torn Yemen.

A statement by the former Yemeni government said Tuesday that the boat went missing some 40 kilometers from remote Socotra Island five days ago, and that 60 Yemeni nationals are believed to have submerged.

The statement added that the vessel was sailing from the southeastern Yemeni province of Hadhramaut. There were women and children among the ill-fated passengers.

Reports say five people have been rescued, and that the search is underway to find the others on board.

Hadhramaut Province is controlled by Saudi-backed militants loyal to the government of former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, which is engaged in fighting with the Yemeni army and allied Houthi fighters.

Flights between Yemeni cities and the island have been suspended since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia launched a deadly campaign against Yemen in an attempt to reinstall the Hadi government.

The Saudi military aggression has left at least 11,400 civilians dead, according to the latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group.

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