11 Ethiopian Migrants Dead and at least 20 Injured After Road Accident in Somalia

Migrants walk on the road that connects Garowe to Bosaso, March 2023. Photo: Said Fadhaye/IOM

Bosaso, Somalia – 11 Ethiopian migrants have died and at least 20 have been injured in a deadly road accident that occurred in the evening hours of Tuesday (28 March 2023) near Bosaso, Somalia. 

The migrants, who were being transported by smugglers, were reportedly heading to Bosaso with the intention of crossing the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. The truck overturned, causing the fatalities and injuries. 

Local communities brought eleven corpses and seriously injured migrants to Bosaso General Hospital, which is now treating patients beyond its capacity. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) mobilized available resources to support the Hospital provide treatment to the victims. 

"We sent most of the medical supplies we had in stock at the Migrant Response Centre (MRC) in Bosaso and our teams are providing physiological support to those injured," said Frantz Celestin, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission. 

The IOM's Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths and disappearances of more than 1,100 people travelling from Eastern Africa to Yemen and Saudi Arabia on the “Eastern Route” since 2019, including this latest incident.

The number of confirmed deaths documented by IOM are almost certainly an undercount: a 2021 survey of households in Ethiopia identified more than 50,000 people reported missing by families after they left their home country since 2015 alone, but security and funding constraints mean that many deaths go unrecorded. 

The Eastern Route is the major migratory route out of the Horn of Africa via Somalia or Djibouti to Yemen and often onwards to Saudi Arabia, mostly taken by Ethiopians and Somalis fleeing precarious economic situations, conflict and climate events such as the current drought. 

Migrants taking the Eastern Route face serious risks, including extortion, detention, kidnapping, modern slavery, and physical abuse. Rape, deaths, and killings at the hands of smugglers and at times by authorities are also a reality in what is arguably considered one of the most dangerous migratory routes on earth. 

“IOM calls for safer and more legal pathways for people in the Horn of Africa to migrate regularly. Populations have suffered from decades of shocks and need more options to sustain their livelihoods and access opportunities,” said Celestin. 

Despite these dangers, the number of migrants taking the Eastern Route is on the rise. IOM recorded 21,469 migrants entering Yemen between January and February of this year, compared to 14,298 entrances in the same period of last year. An estimated 27 per cent of them travelled through or from Somalia. 

IOM is facing significant funding gaps to assist migrants in Somalia. Unless donors rapidly scale-up funding, the Organization will be forced to stop supporting two Migrant Response Centres by June 2023, leaving thousands of migrants each year without access to basic healthcare, information, clothes, water, food, temporary accommodation and a humane, safe and dignified option for returning home voluntarily.  

In February 2022, IOM launched a USD 84 million appeal to support over 1 million migrants in the Horn of Africa. 

For more information, please contact Claudia Rosel, Media and Communications Officer in IOM Somalia, 


*An earlier version of this press release misstated the numbers of injured.