By: Yusuf M Hasan
GABILE (Somalilandsun) – members of a human trafficking cartel have been convicted to various prison sentences for abetting Tahrib-illegal immigration.
At the Gabile regional magistrate court 15 people belonging to a Human Trafficking Cartel have been awarded various sentences in prison after they were found guilty of abetting Tahrib.
In the case that has been on-going for two months the 15 of whom four were not in court had been charged of operating as human traffickers thus facilitating the illegal immigration of Somalilanders for gain.
A number of the accused who were present in court had been either been arrested in Wajale town or in between Somaliland and Ethiopia borders.
Others were extradited from Ethiopia where they had been captured on diverse days of the past months of 2013.
“Having been caught red handed in the act of facilitating Tahrib either in Somaliland or Ethiopia you have been found guilty contrary to section 466 and 457 of the law” said Mohamed Juma’ale Mah the regional magistrate as he passed sentence
The case thus concluded with 4 accused persons convicted in absentia to two years imprisonment and the police ordered to ensure their arrest.
“Police are hereby ordered to effect the arrest of the 4 accused who were in the charge sheet but not in court” said the Gabile regional magistrate.
One accused said to be a taxi driver/owner was released unconditional for lack of evidence as to his membership of the human trafficking cartel after he managed to prove that he was in his official duties thus only hired (as usual) to transport passengers from Hargeisa to the Somaliland Ethiopia border town of Wajale.
Four others identified as masterminds behind the cartel were sentenced to 2 years and hard labour to be served at any maximum penitentiary in the country.
Those to serve two years are:
1. Hasan Arab Ubed
2. Mohamed Abdi Hirsi
3. Abdiaziz Aden Ismail and
4. Abdi Sudi Diriye Qase
According to the prosecutor the four now convicts were captured while riding a white mini-bus between Kalabyd and Wajale towns while in company of 12 youthful citizens whom they were trafficking, commercially, out of the country
6 other members of the cartel who were also reported to have been given suspended sentences last year were this time round sentenced to 6 months imprisonment without the option of a fine.
The six said to be mostly engaged in organizing transport for the Human trafficking cartel either by helping with on foot border crossing or car hire are:
1. Abdi Daud Sooyaal
2. Ahmed Dahir Muhumed Na’naa.
3. Eid Muse Adan Qamdalas.
4. Mohamed Mahmud Abdilahi Qaro.
5. Abdirizaq Ali Roble Bashaal and
6. Nassir Abdilahi Adan.
Two defence lawyers who said that the court had sentenced their clients erroneously said that they are going to fight for an overturn of the convicting’s through the court of appeal.
The sentencing of the Human Traffic Cartel comes at a time when various stakeholders in Somaliland are starting to raise a hue and cry over Tahrib.
Recently the president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo established a seven member strong national Anti-Tahrib and Job creation committee that was mandated with coming up with strategies to stem illegal immigration in the country.
“As you are aware the country is facing innumerable difficulties as a result of illegal immigration by a large number of youths” said president Silanyo during the committee launch
The head of state also said that the country needs to come up with mechanisms of stemming Tahrib which is not only contributing to major brain drainage in the country but putting many households in distress from deaths of loved ones or payment of hefty ransom fees to Libyan based armed gangs.
According to the administration150 people especially graduate youths are leaving the country on a monthly basis in pursuit of illegal immigration and under the charge of unscrupulous human traffickers who mostly deliver them to their armed cahoots in Libya.
This was divulged by the Director General ministry of interior during a debate on Tahrib at the University of Hargeisa in which he informed that the governments of Somaliland and Ethiopia have entered into a pact geared towards the arrest of human traffickers either at their common boarders or within their respective countries.