As the stakeholders prepare to repatriate over 70 illegal migrants some of whom were involved in a serious accident resulting in death and serious injuries.
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – Citizens of Ethiopia and entire Horn Region where Illegal immigration is prone require massive awareness rising on the ills of this trend that is costing innocent lives now and then.
This was stated by the political and economic affairs Counselor at the Federal Democratic republic of Ethiopia General Consulate in Hargeisa Ageze Amelo during a briefing to Somalilandsun at his offices where he also disclosed that the government in Addis Ababa is concerned about the increase lose to life courtesy of illegal immigration.
Revealing that a recent road accident involving a Somaliland police vehicle transporting illegal immigrants to Hargeisa for Repatriation back to Ethiopia saw two migrant lose life while three others were in critical condition, Counselor Amelo said “We are cooperating closely with Somaliland authorities, the International Office of Migration-IOM and the Migrant Response Center (MRC) as pertains the treatment of the injured Ethiopian nationals and subsequent repatriation back home”
He further informed that the Ethiopian Government is not only aware of ongoing crackdown of illegal immigrants of whom majority are Ethiopians by Somaliland officials but supportive of it, Counselor Amelo said that the repatriation should only focus on illegal’s only as many of nationals from the neighbouring country are in Somaliland where they live and work legally.
Stating that the Ethiopian Community Centre is closely monitoring cleanout campaign the diplomat stated that the expulsion of illegal migrants should not affect those foreigners who are legally in the country, adding that “Many Ethiopian nationals work and live in Somaliland and if it happens that some among them are illegal’s their property should be guaranteed ”
Pursuant to new government guidelines on Immigration and security the authorities have jumpstarted the arrest and subsequent repatriation of illegal immigrants whose vacate order expires on the 31st of January 2016.
Somaliland has been inundated by dual status of illegal immigrants namely those in Somaliland to stay and those in transit to Gulf countries via Bosaso mostly from Ethiopia and Somalis running away from Al-shabaab terrorists, the lot under mastery charge by human traffickers also includes others from as far away as Bangladesh and Sri lanka.
As he acknowledge the confluence of Ethiopians to Somaliland illegally the counselor in-charge of political and economic affairs at the Ethiopian General Consulate in Hargeisa revealed that joint efforts are now operational towards elimination of a very strong network of human traffickers plying between his country and Somaliland with Puntland as the destination for subsequent dispatch to the Gulf countries in ramshackle boats.
“it is suspicious that the regular Yemen illegal immigration route to the Gulf is now very volatile due to war but the number of people pursuing illegal immigration there is increasing” said Counselor Amelo while revealing that the irregular movement is being investigated on a security angle.
The partner authorities who maintain close bi-lateral relations that have for decades revolved around security, economy and cross border movements among many are at a high gear towards stemming the flow of irregulars mostly from the Oromo tribe in Ethiopia some of who are suspected of being sympathetic to the Oromo liberation movement a terrorist organization.
Said he, “while it is imperative for every government to protect its nationals and country from terrorist activities we are fully cooperating with Somaliland administration to ensure as well as deter illegal movement of terrorists from one country into another”
At the same time and fully aware that Addis Ababa the capital of Ethiopia is the main gateway of Somalilanders to the rest of the world the political and economic affairs Counselor at the Federal Democratic republic of Ethiopia General Consulate in Hargeisa Ageze Amelo informed that visa issuance to the public shall resume once technical issues are resolved.
“We are currently only servicing medical emergencies, urgent interviews at foreign embassies in Ethiopia, business and official visits by public servants while full public visa issuance is to resume soon.
Elaborating on the now almost a month cessation of visa issuance Counselor Ageze Amelo reiterated on the prevalent instance where few visa stickers are available at the General Consulate in Hargeisa occasioned by the many applications processed “In terms of public visa issuance we are the busiest with over 500 applicants granted legal entry into Ethiopia for various purposes including business, official working visits, transit, tourism and medical” said Counselor Amelo thus justifying the minimal visa stickers available.
Recently over 30 out of 106 illegal migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia lost their lives after their ramshackle ship sunk off the Eastern coast of the Somaliland on the way to the Gulf from Bosaso a human traffickers infested port in the Somalia administrative fregion of Puntabnd.
The survivors numbering 62 under charge of IOM, UNHRC and DRC were moved from the emergency rescue base in Sanaag region first to the UNHCR-managed Berbera reception centre on 12th January while injured eight will remain under the care of doctors at Erigavo Hospital until they are fit to travel.
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