The escape from death to death... Yemeni youth journey to find alternative homelands (investigation)

The escape from death to death... Yemeni youth journey to find alternative homelands (investigation)

by: Samia Al-Aghbari 

-Dubaisi: I saw the red sky and the Sea was red and heard the screaming of women and children Oh God Oh God

Yemeni embassy in Libya: 7 Yemeni migrants who entered Libya through Sudan drowned by a boat carrying more than 100 people and 3 of them were rescued while four Yemenis were lost and so far they were not found.

Yemeni students study in Morocco, from 65 to 70 students, including one female student who left school and migrated to Europe

They saw their future falling in front of their eyes, and they are getting old  in homelands filled with graveyards which made  the greatest desire of Yemeni and Arab youth in general is to reach Europe. The promised paradise.

Fleeing death to death, they are in a difficult and dangerous way in search of life, a nation that accommodates their dreams, and those simple things (freedom, health, education, security, stability and dignity) that they have lost in their homelands, so the can find them in an alternative homeland worth the adventure to reach!

By the dilapidated boats and sprawling desert, a perilous journey venturing to reach the land of dreams, they think it deserves any price in order to reach them even if the cost is their life.

A large number of Yemenis are sneaking into African countries to migrate to Europe through the sea or the desert, yet there are no accurate statistics on the number of people who attempted to migrate, because the youths are entering illegally and according to a source in the Yemeni Foreign Ministry, what is known  to the foreign affairs ministry  is coming from what reach to the embassies from the  authorities in those countries if the imigrants drowned or were arrested or contacted.

A source at the Yemeni embassy in Libya told al-Masdar online: The embassy has filed a report to the Foreign Ministry stating that a number of Yemeni citizens have entered Libya illegally in order to seek refuge in Europe, and according to the report, the phenomenon increased during the years 2016, 2017, 2018, where the number of immigrants Yemenis during those years more than 100 migrants aged 16 to 30 where 55 Yemeni citizens have returned to Yemen through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 6 persons who return at their own expense, 19 citizens transferred to Italy and Niger through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and 9 persons who refused to return to Yemen is registered with UNHCR and has remained in the shelters of the anti-illegal immigration agency in Tripoli and Tajuraa in the hope of transferring them to a European country.

He said that among the immigrants who entered Libya through Sudan, seven migrants drowned in the boat, which was carrying more than 100 people including these Yemenis, and three of them were rescued while four Yemenis were lost and so far have not been found.

He pointed out that the embassy has contacted our embassies in Egypt and Sudan in order to warn against the dangers of illegal immigration.

Diplomatic sources told Al-Masdar online that nine Yemeni youths two years ago planned to migrate to Europe through a smuggling gang in Egypt, arrested in Alexandria, some of whom were deported to Yemen, and did not know if there were other attempts, and information from South Africa indicates the entry of a number of Yemenis illegally to and from Madagascar and through smugglers who entered South Africa to plan their next trip to the west and did not specify where their destination was!

Ambassador Ali al-Yazidi has explained that the Yemeni Embassy in Algeria does not know the ways in which these people are entering illegally, and all that is related to these cases which reached them have been passed to the Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs and demanded a media move to warn Yemeni citizens about the seriousness of this migration on their lives and possessions.

In Morocco, the sources confirm the entry of scores of Yemenis in order to migrate to Europe, and a number of Yemeni students studying in Morocco ranged from 65 to 70 students, including one female student who left school and migrated to Europe.

Muhammad the story of Yemeni pain

"He died a stranger as hundreds of Yemenis die all over the earth living and dying strangers without knowing the hard ground on which they stand on. Oh, God, how strange we are, how strange we are!  "Mohamed Abdel Wali.

The stories of the late Yemeni writer Mohamed Abdel-Wali in their content embody the suffering of the Yemeni man in the countries of expatriation, the Yemeni who migrated in search of a living and a decent life and escape the oppression of the ruling regimes, but his novel (Dying Strangers) was more realistic in portraying the events and the suffering of the immigrant in exile, How a dream come true in the village to the protagonist, his house is referred to as "the best house" and when he decides to return to his village and his family he dies strange and buried in a strange land and no one points to his grave and says  "The most beautiful grave in the world grave  of Abdou Saeed ".

If Muhammad Abdulwali was alive, perhaps a thousand of the greatest fiction that embodies the reality of the 21st century, the most bitter and tragic, the Yemeni today does not die strange and drowned or swallowed by the sands of the desert only, even that strange land often its soil does not embrace his missing body.

From Mauritania to Mali and then to Algeria, the journey of journalist Mohamed Ahdal, who ended up drowning before it began, was a 24-year-old man whose body arrived on March 9 to Yemen and buried than two weeks ago in Sana'a, Mohammed lost his job in Saudi Arabia, and his country lives in War, the doors closed in his face and the immigration decision was made.

He told his friends he's going to migrate. no matter what it cost, mid-February, 20 km from the coast of Oran, Algeria, the boat he was carrying  himand his companions drowned, found the bodies of some who were with him and did not find Muhammad, for days when his friends and family were looking for him and hoping to be alive, the Yemeni embassy in Algeria presented a memo to Algerian authorities demanding to know his fate the shock was on Feb. 28 as the Yemeni Embassy in Algeria announced the discovery of the body of Ahdal in the state of Shalf on the coast of Mens.

Muhammad and his companions, Yemenis, Palestinian, Iraqi and Syrian nationalities, had recorded a video clip before their journey in the death boat.

The video clip shows  young people sitting on the ground and their faces to tell what they suffered in their homelands and on their journey, a small room full of dirt , in the video they talked about their suffering and dreams filled with sorrow and frustration of their present and hope for the future when they arrive at their destination, the recording was after five days of detention, they said they don't know where they are and what their fate is! they even don't know the detainees, all they know is that masked gunmen drove them into this room, without water, no food, no medicine, they confiscated their mobile phones and only one phone remained.

Farasan Nabil, who tells the story of his journey to the "Al-Masdar online" and who was lucky and arrived in Spain on a separate trip, claims that he knows the location of this room, a place located on the border between Mali and Algeria.

They say "they have been smuggled in order to reach Europe and the countries of human rights, they will seek refuge when they arrive and will seek work, they are willing to work in any field."

What was published in the video were United Nations reports, testimonies and statements of immigrants in Libya and Algeria to various organizations and media that had confirmed the mistreatment of migrants.

At the beginning of 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed concern about the safety of migrants from Syria, Yemen and Palestine who travelled to Algeria and were stranded in the desert on the Algerian-Nigerian border.

The group, which includes some 120 Syrians, Palestinians and Yemenis, was detained at the Tamanrasset Centre in southern Algeria before being transported to a nearby area of the Gozam border site on Dec. 26 and demanded that the fate of 20 people from this group be revealed in since they have been lost in desert!

In its response, the Algerian authorities accused UNHCR of bias and manipulating in the file of illegal immigrants, denying that it had deported refugees and that its decision came after the Algerian army units monitored the infiltration of Syrian Free army soldiers under humanitarian cover and with the support of extremist groups operating in the coastal region.

"Algeria has received tens of thousands of Syrians in the past years, but it is not possible to receive members of armed groups fleeing Syria, and it is about the security of his country," said Hassan Kasemi, director of immigration at the Algerian Interior Ministry, adding that about 100 people have reached the border With the help of local armed escorts over the past few weeks, but have been spotted and expelled after their infiltration into Algeria. "

Yemeni ambassador to Algeria expressed regret over the death of journalist Mohamed Ahdal drowned and said: Muhammad was among 17 Yemenis who were released as the last batch, but he was the only Yemeni in the boat that sank.

In his speech to the Al-Masdar online, Ambassador Al-Yazidi confirmed that a number of Yemenis were being held at the Algerian Red Crescent headquarters in Tamanrasset, several of whom contacted the embassy asking for their intervention.

He said the Yemeni embassy received a letter from the Algerian Foreign ministry asking them to pay for their deportation to Yemen.

Adding: We told them that we could not return them because our country was at war, then we contacted Tamanrasset and we could not get them out and we had to send three diplomats in the embassy there where they were sitting with the Governor and the security authorities, we showed them the status of the country and the justifications for coming to Algerian territory, then we asked them to allow them to enter the country and give them a chance to look for a way out or return in their own way from where they came from.

He continued: This situation was repeated in other states where some 70 people arrived and we contacted the officials in those States and asked them to be treated as the state of Tamanrasset and actually were released.

Some of them have received temporary cards from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to move in Algeria and seek a way out of the country, and after these cases we have not been notified by any Yemeni citizen asking us to intervene in his situation.

On the deportation of migrants, including Yemenis, across the desert, al-Yazidi says: We heard some news, not official, that after these repeated cases Algerians not only belong to Yemenis but citizens of several countries that they are deported directly to the borders of Niger, while stressing that the embassy were not informed of the presence of a Yemeni citizen requested its intervention.

With regard to their return to Yemen, Ambassador Al-Yazidi said: We have not deported anyone, and if they have returned, we do not know how they returned, and we know that no citizen is imprisoned in Algerian jails or in camps.


He noted that the Algerian judiciary is ruling on those who illegally entered the country with a three-month prison sentence that is not in force.

The ambassador praised Algeria's good dealings with Yemeni migrants and its duty towards them, he said.

Al-Yazidi explained that the arrival of  Yemenis in Algeria began months ago, where they come through Khartoum to Mauritania and then enter Algerian territory illegally, considering that Mauritania does not require an advance visa from Yemenis to enter its territory.

" Mediterranean" lethal crossing

In August 2018, UNHCR described the Mediterranean Road by the world's deadliest sea route, with 850 people killed in June and July alone, a month after UNHCR warned in another report that in return for the decline in the number of illegal immigrants arriving in Europe, the rate of loss of life has risen Sharply, especially in the Mediterranean.

According to the UNHCR, a total of 2262 people died in the  Mediterranean during 2018 while trying to reach Europe, and in a statement published on its site in mid-January, it expressed sadness at the death or loss of 170 people in two separate incidents in the Mediterranean this year.

In Libya alone, the number of migrants arrested last year amounted to 29,000, according to the United Nations, but Libyan coast Guard spokesman Ayoub Kassem indicated that there were only 15,000 immigrants!

Young men left the land and their destination Italy with great hopes and dreams, but in less than two hours they returned to land dead bodies, including those whose body was no longer to honour, and who survived the unbelievable fact that a new life was written for him, thus in the blink of an eye swallowed by the sea.

The road to Europe is not a planted with roses but it is a paved for these young people with their determination to reach them, although death lurks in them.

Early July last year was the tragedy, a boat sank on the Libyan coast of Tripoli and was aboard  (130) including women and children according to Walid al-Dubbaisi, a young Yemeni survivor of the death miraculously

 "I saw the red sky and the sea was red, I heard the cries of women and children, the deaths signs, I could hear the voices of them screaming  God and O Allah, they were moving the water and the wave pulling me, the voices are decreasing I hear only two voices. They drowned, I almost fainted, I remembered my mother, I remembered you.

Walid Dubbaisi told his friend in a phone call, according to a story that a friend told to Al-Masdar online. His friend didn't stop crying and he asked him: Where are you, Waleed?

"I can't believe I'm still alive," al- Dubbaisi said.

Then he recounts: We went off at about 2 o'clock in the middle of the night, sailed in the sea about 50 kilos, at 3 o'clock the water was leaking to the boat, we kept sailing, and suddenly the engine exploded, we were one hundred and thirty, people burned and others drowned.

Walid Dubbaisi and his companions went from Egypt to Libya and there they met with the seventh young man Jawhar al-Harazi, and agreed to migrate across the sea to Italy and the starting point was Tripoli Libyan coast, it seems that the smuggler deceived immigrants, in a press statement said  "Omri Sweileh " which is one of the Yemeni survivors  "when I saw the number of people on the boat refusing to climb because we were told we would only be 20 people, but he was assaulted by passengers who forced him to climb to the boat. "

Who forced him to climb to the boat died shipwrecked and he escaped with few miraculously.

According to Dubbaisi, the survivors are only 25 people, including three Yemenis (he, Omri Sweileh and Abdelkader Al Hadhrami), while more than a hundred of them drowned, including women, children and four Yemeni youths (Jamal Haidara, Mohammed al Dhaheri, Jawhar al-Harazi, Saleh Baidhani).

Nouria al-Harazi, a well-known Yemeni journalist and television director, is a brother of Jowhar told  Al-Masdar online:  "My mother lives in the hope of returning my brother and he is still alive, he left Jawhar Sana'a after his life become very dificult, went to Sudan looking for work, remained there for a year and then travelled to an area on the Sudanese-Libyan border and found  a job and his situation was good, but the idea of migrating to Europe remained and when he met the young people who came from Egypt for the same purpose joined them, they were together on the same trip, seven only three survived, while four were still missing, including my brother.

Mid July 2018 in a post on her account on Facebook Harazi wrote: Jawhar did not come out on a luxury trip or tourism, he went out in search of a homeland, future and life, a life away from the slogans of death, he went out after the means of life narrowed.

Torture, sale and rape

They escaped from war and poverty in the hope of a dignified life, but these migrants are tied up by gangs of smugglers and armed groups in transit countries, including Libya, where they are subjected to heinous abuses!

Press reports, rights and United Nations missions all confirmed that migrants, especially Africans, were subjected to mistreatment in Libya and were forced to work in detention centres or on farms and construction sites and those who refused to do the work assigned to them were beaten and subjected to sexual abuse in a detention centre In Tripoli, in addition to overcrowded detention centres, detainees suffer from lack of ventilation and lighting, inadequate toilets and ablution facilities, but some have been sold as slaves in the market, taken hostage and have demanded ransom from their families! A UN report in 2018 described Libya as an unsecure place for migrants after they were rescued or intercepted and subjected to serious abuses, and the 56-page report gathered hundreds of testimonies of victims who had been subjected to various types of abuses by armed groups and smugglers. Eeven state officials, including slavery, forced labour, torture, murder, and rape, according to women and adolescent girls, were reported to the UN mission.

In a speech to Joan Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), at the end of last December, she said: As MSF's international president, I saw horrific scenes, some of which were in detention centres in Libya last year  "People in miserable conditions crammed into filthy rooms, trapped with no power, lost for any hope. "

She added: "Men and women recounted the violence and exploitation of adults who were subjected to them during their travels. Women reported having been raped and then forced to contact their families to ask for money. Underage children and pregnant women trapped in basements without medical care, tears in their eyes and asking to be freed. "

* Disclaimer: I had contacted an official of the anti-illegal immigration agency in Libya and sent me his account on Facebook, sent him questions but until the moment he did not open the messages either on Facebook or WhatsApp.

Prey away from the eyes of the authorities.

In those coasts and deserts and on the border far from the eyes of the authorities, smugglers, merchants of death and brokers are still waiting for young immigrants as a beast waiting for their prey, young people pay dearly to reach Europe, and this price is not only thousands of dollars, but their lives, being buffeted by those criminal hands, the lives of innocent people are messed with  from one desert to another and from one beach to another.

Through the story of  Farasan to "Al-Masdar online" about his trip to Europe it is clear that these networks do not work separately and the smugglers do not work individually, illegal immigrants are delivered from one smuggler to another, from Mauritania, Morocco, Mali, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Sudan.

Early this year, the Moroccan police in Tangier announced the arrest of a criminal network specializing in the organization of illegal immigration operations to Spain, the police found in the house of one of the suspects 17 candidates for immigration, and the seizure of passports and Algerian identities and money, according to the spokesman of the Moroccan Government Mustafa al-Khalfi, who announced at a press conference in Rabat in 2018, that Moroccan security services dismantled 80 networks active in illegal migration and human trafficking.

Farasan Nabil arrived in the Netherlands after a arduous journey for months from Somalia, to the Sudan, to Cairo and Montenegro, and again to Cairo.

This time he left for Mauritania from Morocco, at the airport he contacted a Mauritanian smuggler who sent him to the airport and drove him to a hotel in Nouakchott and stayed for almost a week until other immigrants gathered and transported on one trip, every immigrant pays 1,200 dollars for smuggling from Mauritania to Tamanrasset Algeria, gathers Migrants from Yemen, Syria and Palestine moved on a bus to the Malian border and then received by another smuggler who arranged a trip by car from the border to the middle of the desert in Mali, and received them a new smuggler and their journey lasted five days in the desert until they reached the borders of Algeria and at the border waited for the bus to take them to Algeria the bus came and arrived at 7 at night to the area between Tamanrasset and the border, then they moved to a car with an Algerian number and when they approached the Tamanrasset point they went down and continued on foot for about 10 minutes until the car was not searched, taxis were waiting for them after they crossed the Military point, they stayed for a week in one of the apartments and everyone pays $20 each day.

To enter Oran, everyone paid $180 for the smuggler, and to Oran they drove away and arrived after a 48-hour trip.

The movement continued from one smuggler to another and from one state and city to another, and according to Farsan, each person paid 1100 dollars to transport them to Nadhor and arrived and landed at Al-Habeeb hotel where they remained three days before entering Melilla, in Nadhor they contacted the smuggler who stole some money and closed his phone then they get back to the hotel and contacted another smuggler a week later, he succeeded in entering Spain through the Malila gate.


It is not tougher than being abroad and searching for a homeland but dying there in the distance no family or country, and a corpse swallowed by the sea, and while these become mere headlines in the media and figures in the reports of organizations and embassies, they remain a scar in the hearts of their loved ones especially those missing who did not found their bodies and their families live on the hope of being alive somewhere and they'll be back!

It is not and will not stop here, but the migration continues, and death continues, and we do not hear about real and serious actions by the Yemeni authorities to curb the phenomenon of Yemeni youth migration and their deaths in the seas and deserts.

The success of one of them in reaching the West makes the idea linger in the heads of youth, an idea not only of males, even girls, thinking of adventure, some of them ventured!

Two years ago she told me: I'm leaving with smugglers across the sea to Europe.

I told her: but you risk, risking your life, you may be arrested and imprisoned, and you may drown, you may be harmed, haven't you heard the stories of women who have tried too?

She said: In any case we are lost, we live a situation that compels us to venture, it worth the honour of trying , don't you think the dogs there live better than us? It has everything and we don't even have a bite to keep us alive, a girl ventured and reached and young people ventured and drowned in the middle of the sea, what will I lose if I try!

And finally

Is the Convention on the Status of Refugees still adequate? What about illegal immigrants who fled their countries suffering from war, poverty and persecution and are brutally treated in shelters? Or by the transit States, in my view, this Convention needs to be developed for the protection of illegal immigrants, reclining to international humanitarian law or human rights conventions is no longer sufficient.


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