African mi­grants flock to Ye­men de­spite con­flict

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

GENEVA — More than 100 000 mi­grants from the Horn of Africa have flocked to Ye­men this year de­spite a rag­ing con­flict in the coun­try, the UN said on Tues­day.

As of mid-Novem­ber, nearly 90 000 Ethiopi­ans and over 17 000 So­ma­lis had crossed the Gulf of Aden since Jan­uary 1, ac­cord­ing to the UN refugee agency.

Some are hop­ing to ul­ti­mately reach the oil-rich Gulf states and find work, while oth­ers are pur­su­ing an in­di­rect route to Europe, UNHCR spokesper­son Wil­liam Spindler told re­porters in Geneva.

Many mi­grants “may be de­ceived or ill-in­formed about the sever­ity of the con­flict in Ye­men”, he added.

The fight­ing in Ye­men in­ten­si­fied dra­mat­i­cally in March of last year when a Saudi-led coali­tion be­gan an aerial of­fen­sive in sup­port of Pres­i­dent Abedrabbo Man­sour Hadi against Shi’ite rebels and their al­lies, in­clud­ing Iran.

The con­flict has killed more than 7 000 and dis­placed more than three mil­lion oth­ers.

But Ethiopian and So­mali mi­grants have con­tin­ued to head there by a per­ilous sea cross­ing “rather than stay in poverty or face per­se­cu­tion and in­se­cu­rity at home”, Spindler said.

UNHCR said it had re­ports that upon ar­riv­ing in Ye­men, mi­grants have faced phys­i­cal and sex­ual abuse as well as tor­ture and forced labour.

At least 79 peo­ple have also per­ished while at­tempt­ing to cross the Gulf of Aden, the UN agency added.

De­spite the con­tin­u­ing vi­o­lence, mi­gra­tion into Ye­men rose this year com­pared to 2015, when 92 000 peo­ple from the Horn of Africa made the boat cross­ing. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.