Asylum seekers drown off coast of Mayotte

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General view of the French overseas territory of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean. UNHCR

Six people have been confirmed drowned and ten are still missing after a small vessel carrying 24 passengers capsized off the French territory of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean on Monday.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says this is the second such tragedy in a month, bringing to 69 the number of people who have been reported dead or missing in such incidents.

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards says for decades, asylum seekers have travelled this risky route.

"The crossings by sea while in flight are still proving to be extraordinarily dangerous and speak to the risks that people in desperation are taking as in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aden Seas around Mayotte are the scene of irregular movements of migrants and refugees searching for a better life or protection from persecution or war."
Duration:  21″

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