Somaliland: 48 Citizens Migrating Illegally to Europe Repatriated From Libya

The returneees disembark at Egal international Airport Hargeisa

Somalilandsun: Collaboration between the government of Somaliland, the UNHCR and the International Office for Migration-IOM has helped return home illegal migrants stranded in Libya.

The returnees numbering forty adults and eight children were rescued from the hands of Libyan traffickers and subsequently repatriated to Hargeisa for subsequent dispatch to their home areas in the country.

Upon arrival at the Egal international airport the 48 citizens were received by Ministries of Employment and Justice, the Somaliland Refugee and Displacement Agency, and IOM officials

According to the Chairman of the Refugee and displacement agency Abdikarim Ahmed Muhumed (Xinif), the 48 we stuck in Libya under the custody of traffickers who continuously demanded ransom payment thus making it impossible for them to pursue their illegal journey to Europe.

As the European Union continues to engage in deeply divisive talks about how to deal with the influx to its shores, Somaliland is having its own conversation about why so many of its young people are risking everything to reach Europe.

This is not the first time for illegal migrants to be returned home to Somaliland a country that is also transit for illegals moving to the Gulf Countries and Europe mostly from Ethiopia but as far as from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well.

Policymakers in this country of about 4 million people, where youth unemployment sits at between 60 and 70 percent, are struggling to come up with ways to convince would-be migrants that the often hollow promise of a better life in Europe is blinding them to the perils of getting there.

Data collected in 2018 indicate that as many as 300 people, predominantly young men, leave Somaliland each month. They rely on a sophisticated network of smugglers to take them through Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya, with Europe as the promised destination.

Despite all the well-chronicled misfortune that befalls most illegal migrants the disillusionment with life due to lack of employment opportunities is drive enough for  the many young men and women who are well-informed about the dangers that lie ahead, but view the expected benefits of reaching their destination as worth the risk.