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Somalis Awaiting Either Tough Solution or Safe Journey, as War Continues in their Country

  Written By: Abdul Rahim Al-Showthabi (YEMEN POST)
  Article Date:
October 20, 2008



Yemen called on the International community to find a political solution to the Somali crisis, insisting on solving the Somali refugees' issue in Yemen, as it has become a hazardous phenomenon that effects Yemen economically and socially.

Likewise, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), called on donors to support international efforts and put an end to the Somali conflict, as very difficult living conditions encourage people to take hopeless measures like risking their lives in a boat journey to Yemen.

Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Mothana Hassan told media outlets that Yemen has expressed its concern for the Somali crisis. Further he indicated that UNHCR stressed the need for practical protection of refugees.

Unfortunately, in a country where economic disparities, scarce sources, and open conflict are ongoing, thousands of Somalis come to Yemen  seeking to live a better life.

Over the years, Yemen has been generous in receiving refugees, and more than 88,000 registered refugees, mostly Somali, reside in Yemen.

The problem does not start there, as thousands die trying to come to Yemen. "Thousands of people, looking for refuge or better economic situations, are believed to drown every year when they are exploited by smugglers," said UN refugee's agency in Yemen representative Adel Jasmin.

Following the hazardous journey from Somalia to the Gulf of Aden, dramatic stories are told by some survivors. Ifto, an illegal African immigrant to Yemen said that he began his journey which starts at Bossaso port in Somalia. During his trip, he mentions that we was exposed to inhumane treatment a number of times by the boat crew.

UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond told AFP news agency that only 47 out of 150 Somali and African emigrants survived a boat ride in a single occasion this month, after smugglers threw most of them out of their boat 5 kilometers off Yemen's shores, revealing that his agency watched Yemeni coastguards burying the corpses.

From its part, UNHCR reported that 31,192 illegal African immigrant arrived to Yemen this year, among whom 21,201 were Somali and 9,854 Ethiopian. It further added that 228 were demised and 262 are still allegedly lost.

Despite the different warnings of taking this path and the different disasters seen at sea, more and more   Somali and African emigrants still undergo this risky and hazardous journey paying no attention to warnings.

Political analysts note that Somalis are warlike people, as they are driven by poverty to intense struggle trying to find access to water and food.

Internationally, observers agreed that power-sharing and political reunion is the most urgent solution to the current crisis in Somalia, revealing that such solutions would not be easy as long as Ethiopian troops are visible in the streets of Mogadishu. "As soon as the Ethiopian troops start departing out of Somalia, expect better and faster change”, noted one international observer. He further added that Islamists groups and militants should not be excluded if serous talks take place.

From her part, the United States Foreign Affairs Minister Condoleezza Rice, warned the international community from the continuing war in Somalia, stressing that ending the war in Somalia would contribute to the peace and stability of the Horn of Africa, and to the African continent as a whole.