By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Over 150 youths are leaving the country on a monthly basis in pursuit of illegal immigration to various destinations.
According to the Director General-DG ministry of Interior Mr. Abdisamad Omar Maal the governments of Somaliland and Ethiopia whose capital Addis Ababa is the main transit have embarked on concerted efforts to reverse this trend.
The DG made the remarks during a debate at the university of Hargeisa-UoH titled “What are the reasons and Impact of Illegal Immigration and How to put a stop” organized by UoH’s Conflict resolution centre and participated by a number of stakeholders representing the administration, legislature, Elders, parents, youths and students from various colleges of the university.
“Our joint efforts with the Ethiopian authorities has so far resulted in the arrest of 45 persons who were trying to cross illegally into Ethiopia from a number of exit points in the country” Said DG Maal
While 30 of the arrested are youths ranging from 13 to 18 years of age and obviously intent on illegal immigration the other 15 are adults under investigation for being suspected Human traffickers.
The DG who said that the administration is concerned about the recent upsurge in this dangerous trade that is slowly shredding apart the country’s learned workforce not to mention never ending deaths in the Sahara desert urged parents to help deter it.
He recounted the regular painful reports about for ransom abducted youths suffering torture and sometimes deaths in the deserts of Sudan or Libya while in custody of armed groups who work in cahoots with locally (Somaliland-Ethiopia) based human traffickers.
Said he, “As we speak five families in Hargeisa among them government officials are in mourning following the deaths of their children in Libya courtesy of armed abducted who denied them water and food for failure to receive ransom money”
Concluding his presentation the Interior ministry Director General who said that illegal immigration and human trafficking are both criminal offences said that the 45 who are already in custody at various police stations together with another batch of 200 arrested by Ethiopian authorities shall be arraigned in court as soon as possible.
According to the debate’s organizer who is the head of the Conflict resolution centre at the UoH Mr. Aden H Ali Ahmed the purpose of the debate which shall be a regular activity is to establish a platform for youths who are the main culprits to network with other stakeholders thus raise their awareness on the ills of illegal immigration to their selves, families and nation.
“What is now worrying is that illegal immigration has developed from the formerly individual act to the current ganging up to form a group under the command of a particular human trafficker who collects thousands of dollars before start of journey” Said Mr. Ahmed
In Somaliland and the wider Horn of Africa region parents and relatives continue to mourn on almost a daily basis the dearth of their sons and daughters who perish in the Sahara desert, the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border, Sinai desert and the Mediterranean sea etc