World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Surge In People Smuggling From Somalia To Yemen

Surge In People Smuggling From Somalia To Yemen Nears 6,000 Since September – UN

New York, Oct 20 2006 10:00AM

Despite a crackdown in Somalia's Puntland region, hundreds of Somalis, Ethiopians and Sudanese are still resorting to smugglers’ boats to make the perilous and sometimes fatal journey across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, with the total nearing 6,000 in the past seven weeks, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

“Passengers on one boat reported that five Ethiopians were beaten by the smugglers, thrown overboard and attacked by sharks in view of the others on the vessel,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva.

“Upon arrival on the Yemen coast, the smugglers forced 25 Ethiopians to remain onboard one of the boats because it had developed engine trouble and their weight was required to maintain balance for the return voyage to Somalia. They have not been seen since,” he said.

Of the more than 5,700 arrivals since early September, 3,314 Somalis, 200 Ethiopians and two Sudanese were transported to UNHCR’s May'fa reception centre near Bir'Ali in southern Yemen. There, they received medical care, food and assistance from UNHCR and its partners.

For the whole four-month period of the so-called smuggling season at the start of the year the total was 10,500, with hundreds reported to have been hurled overboard to drown by gun-toting traffickers. Some 60 people are reported to have died and 85 are missing since the smugglers once again began sailing the rickety, overcrowded boats with the onset of calmer weather at the beginning of September.

UNHCR has repeatedly called for international action and donor support to tackle the root causes of the smuggling, including protection for the victims and prosecution of smugglers. The migrants are mostly men who cite insecurity, drought and economic hardship reasons for leaving.

In Somalia, UNHCR yesterday began interviewing and counselling Ethiopians following an accord with Puntland authorities allowing it to identify potential asylum-seekers. The agreement follows reports that 1,300 Ethiopians were sent back to their country after Puntland authorities issued a decree last month aimed at stopping the smuggling.

“Our six-member team in Bosaso (in Puntland) has already started to conduct interviews with a group of some 600 Ethiopians who are being held at a mosque in Bosaso by the Puntland authorities,” Mr. Redmond said. “There are an estimated 50 unaccompanied children among them. We are sending a specialist to Bosaso determine their need and status. The authorities estimate that there are at least another 3,000 Ethiopians currently in Puntland. UNHCR will also proceed with screening this group.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news