Stranded Ethiopian Migrants Helped Home

The first 110 Ethiopian migrants stranded in the Somali town of
Bossasso and wanting to go home, have been helped back to Ethiopia
by IOM.

The migrants are part of a larger group of an estimated 4,000
Ethiopians who are currently transiting through Puntland on their
way to the Middle East by using well established smuggling and
trafficking networks to cross the Gulf of Aden towards Yemen and
then onwards to Saudi Arabia.

A total of 238 Ethiopian migrants had expressed a desire to IOM
to return home. The remainder of the group are expected to be flown
back to Dire Dawa today.

IOM is providing pre-departure counselling and medical screening
to the migrants wanting to return home as well as additional
assistance upon arrival in Ethiopia.

This return operation is being carried out in coordination with
the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia and with assistance
from the UN’s OCHA and UNHCR and with funding from the Danish
Refugee Council.

From interviews with the migrants, IOM has found that almost all
of them had been smuggled overland into Somalia and were heading to
Saudi Arabia via Yemen in search of low skill jobs. Very few were
aware of the risks involved in their dangerous journey which, as
reported by the migrants, include being repeatedly robbed, long
walks in the scorching desert, thirst, starvation and various forms
of assault by shiftas, or local bandits.

For more information, please contact:

Yitna Getachew

IOM Bossasso

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