Somalia: Thousands of Somali refugees trapped in Yemen violence

The conflict in Yemen is not only having an impact on Yemeni nationals, but also on the thousands of Somali immigrants who have went there to work, study or live or pass through to reach another destination. 

Insecurity in Yemen has risen sharply in recent months as several parallel conflicts have intensified and expanded, with the Houthi rebels backed by the Iranian government overthrowing the weak government.

A Somali diplomat has told the BBC Somali service that the refugees have been trapped with scant food and water with almost not receiving attention.

‘’ The situation of the Somalis currently living in Yemen is in jeopardy and trapped in the conflict,’’ says Ahmed Ibrahim Hassan, the Somali Consular based in Aden City.

This spike in violence has taken place amidst – and has contributed directly to – a worsening humanitarian situation, and aid access has been curtailed, says the Somali official.

Somalia government has not spoken of any plans to evacuate its citizens from the country, where hope for an immediate peace deal is low.

Yemen has long been a major transit point for illegal migration from the Horn of Africa.

For many years, tens of thousands of African immigrants including Somalis have risked their lives by crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen in their search for safety and a better life. Many die atrocious deaths – beaten, thrown overboard, eaten by sharks, drowned or asphyxiated in the hold of crowded smuggler boats.