By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Somalia green passport is no longer a valid travel document in Somaliland.
This is as a result of a ban order issued by the ministry of aviation and air transport in a circular to security forces and all airlines and their respective travel agents operating in the country.
In the circular the director general in the aviation ministry Mr Ahmed Ali Farah informed that his ministry has banned the green Somalia passport following recommendations of the immigration department WSW/HG/02/14/2013 of 06/05/2013 which is as a result of directives from the ministry of interior WAG/XW/369/04/2013 dated 07/05/2013.
“You are hereby informed that you shall not issue tickets or board passengers bearing the Green passport” Said DG Farah
The aviation ministry which says the passport issuing country of Somalia has discarded use of the Green version of the travel document exempted Somalilanders working in the countries Arabian Gulf from the ban order
Said he, “Only Somalilanders working in the Arab countries and with valid work permit shall be allowed use of the green passport”
Putting this order to effect means that all holders of the green Somali passport wishing to travel out of the country for various reasons pleasure, business and education etc. shall remain stranded.
While the move coming on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan those faithful who had plans to make the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the holy city of Mecca have to make yet unknown alternate travel arrangements owing to the fact that the government of Saudi Arabia has in its turn banned the somaliland passport.
Following the Saudi invalidation of the Somaliland passport as a valid travel document to their country thus putting citizens pilgrimage plans for the 2012 Hajj in a quandary heated debates ensued within the administration with some ministers urging a boycott while others counselling caution.
With Somalia having replaced the green passport with the current one dubbed “Abdilahi Yusuf” the then president of Somalia, diplomatic efforts resulted with a compromise that the Saudi’s shall accept pilgrims from somaliland bearing the pre-1991 Green passport.
While most Somalilanders who travel legally utilized passports from various countries including the “Abdilahi Yusuf” one and in view that the somaliland passport is acceptable by a very few countries among them not Saudi Arabia then the only route open to those wishing to perform Hajj this year is “Tahrib’ that it illegal travel.
By the way isn’t the ever increasing act of Tahrib by Somalilanders a result of lack of legal means to travel?
Who would want to undertake the cumbersome, dangerous and costly journey through Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya and Gibraltar/Lampedusa with the attendant rapes, abductions, hunger, thirst and death involved while paying over $10,000 if legal channels were available?
Now that the government has banned the one document poor Somalilanders devoid of foreign passports utilized the country should brace for an even large number of citizens indiscriminate of age or gender crossing the Sahara desert illegally.
Meanwhile the government and related stakeholders should realize that the current global hype of migration also afflicts Somalilanders just like it does Spaniards, Russians, Lebanese and Icelanders etc.
The Tahrib phenomena is not one emanating from unemployment or security but as a result of the non-existence of legal means of travel occasioned by the non-recognition of somaliland and its travel document.
By the way how many Spaniards have been reported dead in pursuit of illegal immigration?