Somali refugees return home after ordeal
MOGADISHU: The International Office of Migration (IOM) has this year repatriated more than 1 300 Somalis after they faced a series of ordeals trying to reach Europe.
The latest 316-strong batch of returnees reached the East African country this week from Yemen, across the Arabian Sea.
The return ended a five-month ordeal that started in February when a smugglers boat, carrying hundreds of Somalis hoping to reach Europe, headed north up the Red Sea along the western coast of Yemen.
The boat docked once in the south of Yemen before it was later hit at sea by another, killing 40 people and severely injuring 13 others.
After the IOM intervened, a passenger boat transported the stranded refugees from Yemen to the Port of Berbera in Somalia.
Over the months, while the refugees were waiting to leave, the IOM with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees provided them with medical care, food and clothing.
“The most vulnerable were women and children,” said IOM spokesperson Rabih Sarieddine.
Most refugees leaving Africa for Europe fall victim to smugglers and traffickers, arbitrary detention, violence and forced labour.
The rescued Somalis were welcomed back by their friends, brothers and sisters. One relative, 18-year old Yassin Abshir, told CAJ News in Mogadishu: “We thank God that these people managed to return alive. We always read and watch news concerning African migrants dying in violent seas while those who make it to Europe are abused.”
Hussein Salah, 21, from Hargeisa city, said economic challenges forced young people to try their luck in Europe. “Some of the issues include unemployment, poverty and civil unrest caused by political instability,” he said. CAJ News