Nairobi - At least 58 Somali migrants have drowned off the coast of Yemen and 155 were still missing, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on Monday.

The Somalis were trying to cross the Gulf of Aden on an illegal boat and probably wanted to proceed to Europe.

They were ordered to jump overboard at gunpoint and swim the remaining several kilometres to Yemen. So far, only 37 survivors were found.

Every year thousands of Africans pay around $30 to make the dangerous sea journey from Somalia to Yemen in usually very poor boats.

"This is a very sad situation," said the Independent Human Rights expert Ghanim Alnajjar, who was recently in the war-ridden country.

"These people have nothing to lose by taking this perilous journey and many of them drown on the way," noted Alnajjar. - Sapa-dpa