Home Africa Exiled Somalis return from Yemen after years of war

Exiled Somalis return from Yemen after years of war

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Somalia’s new president is marking his first week in office and one of his immediate concerns will be returning the country to peace.

This is as more than a hundred Somalis who left the country at the height of the war that engulfed the country in the 90s returned home from Yemen.

TVC News Omotayo Shobitan reports that the emotions were raw– many of the returnees unable to hold back tears as they recounted the harrowing experiences they endured in Yemen where many had originally sought refuge during the civil war in the 1990s.

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Layla Mohamed Salah was in her early twenties when she left her homeland. It’s been 15 years of absence from a home she couldn’t wait to get back to.

For Aydurus Sharif Mohamed, his more than two decades in Yemen was a mix of nostalgia and moments of intense fear.

It is a situation that Sam Grundy, Head of operations in Somalia for the International Organization for Migration, says is worrying.

The returnees and their families have a lot to be happy about. And according to Ahmed Nur, chief of the Somali Government commission responsible for refugees, the safe arrival of the returnees is validation that the pasture was not necessarily greener on the other side.

Now that they are back, many of these returnees now say they are looking forward to the promised process of reintegrating them into a society they once were proud to be a part of.

International Rights Group, Human Rights Watch has accused the Ethiopian government of turning back on its public promise to undertake reforms, and to address the tense political climate in the country.

HRW’s latest position is contained in a piece authored by its Senior Researcher for the Horn of Africa, Felix Horne, in reaction to the recent charge brought against a leading opposition activist, Dr Merera Gudina.

60-year-old Gudina who is chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress was charged with terrorism last Thursday along with two others.

HRW says instead of responding to criticism with yet more repression, the Ethiopian government should release opposition politicians jailed for exercising their basic rights.

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