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197 African Migrants Feared Drowned Off Sudan

Sudanese media say a boat packed with migrants bound for Saudi Arabia has sunk, leaving 197 people feared dead.

The state-linked news agency, Sudanese Media Center, says three people were rescued from the vessel and that authorities are still searching for possible survivors. It says the boat caught fire off the Sudanese coast.

The report does not say what nationality the migrants are, but it says they came from Sudan's neighboring countries.

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

Many of the refugees and migrants make the journey in overcrowded smugglers' boats where, in some cases, they are beaten or thrown overboard.

The migration route through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea is considered one of the busiest and deadliest in the world.