Sunday, May 06, 2012
There are about two million African refugees in Yemen as thousands of refugees, mostly from Somalia, continue to arrive in the country fleeing conflict and deteriorating humanitarian situation in African horn states, the Interior Ministry has said.
The ministry voiced concerns about the continuous exodus of Ethiopians, Eritreans and Somalis into Yemen, especially since many children and women are among those who arrive at the Yemeni coasts.
April saw an increasing influx of Ethiopians into the county, most of whom were taken to the Kharaz refuge in Lahj, it said, adding about 1147 refugees were arrested in this month in several provinces.
1030 Ethiopians were arrested in April including 101 women and 16 children in Saada, Taiz, Shabwa, Lahj, Sanaa, Ibb, Marib and Amran. They were disembarked from smuggling boats, it said.
Africans continued to arrive in Yemen in 2011 despite the unrest including the protests which ousted the regime by year end.
An official statistic has recently said between 160-200 refugees arrive in Yemen a day to lay more burdens on the national economy.
Between 2006-2008, most of the refugees who arrived in the country were Somalis, but more recently Ethiopians made up the largest number of the refugees in the country.
Also, many Africans pass through Yemen to Arabian gulf states such as Saudi Arabia.
In recent years, hundreds of refugees died when overcrowded boats drowned in tough weather or when smugglers forced them to swim in deep waters to Yemeni coasts.
In recent years, there have been fears members of the Somali al-Shabab movement could infiltrate into Yemen to support al-Qaida members during their battles with the local authorities.
With direct support from the US, the Yemeni army has been fighting al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, since it emerged in 2009 in southern and southeastern regions.