By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
Somalilandsun- Undocumented foreigners living in the country have gone underground.
This follows an immigration department operation targeting illegal migrants in all major Somaliland towns where regular police officers are also participating.
The flush out operation see police and immigration dept officers randomly stop pedestrians and passengers in main town streets where travel documents or residence permits are demanded upon those ascertained to be non-citizens.
According to a source within the immigration department headquarters in Hargeisa, the operation has the motive of eliminating the large number of undocumented foreigners in the country.
“While persons from numerous nationalities are resident in Somaliland for various purposes our database shows a huge discrepancy between those officially in the country and the illegals” said our source, a captain, who requested Anonymity
Somaliland is host to a large cadre of skilled professionals working for international organizations as well as in the public and private sectors and fully documented as per laws of the land.
On the other hand a myriad of illegal migrants enter the country at will especially from Ethiopia either in search of work or in transit towards Gulf countries on illegal immigration.
Similarly a large number of undocumented Yemenis are resident in the country specially the capital Hargeisa where arrival has been in droves since start of the Saudi led coalition war back home.
Those in jeopardy are foreigners of Somaliland origin whose love of the motherland has brought them from far and wide but devoid of perfect Somali language skills and/or clan lineage knowledge, usually the only identity of a citizen in the country where recently issued ID cards are not recognized by most.
Though the elimination or at most reduction of undocumented foreigners is healthy for the country more so security wise, the successful culmination of the current flush out operation remains doubtful if past ones are a measure.