Somalia: As Yemen crisis unfold, Puntland sees massive refugees influx


BOSASO, Somalia, April 11, 2015 (Garowe Online)- In a mass exodus, around 260 Somali refugees fleeing violence in Yemen have arrived in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in northern Somalia, officials on Friday, Garowe Online reports.

The influx of the refugees escaping the fighting in Yemen and the Saudi-led air strikes come as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said it was making contingency plans to receive up 30,000 refugees over the next six months in Djibouti, which already hosts nearly 15,000 refugees.

In Somaliland and Puntland, Somalia, UNHCR and its partners have started preparations to receive up to 100,000 people. Those escaping Yemen include both refugees who had originally fled from Africa to Yemen and Yemenis fleeing their own country.

For safety reasons, Puntland security officials said the refugees would be resettled once they go through security checks. The region's intelligence officials often say that militants fighting in Yemen may use immigrants' boats to sneak into the region.

The new arrivals would raise the number of the refugees who arrived in Puntland from Yemen to 662, according to Abdullahi Hashi, Puntland's
deputy interior minister.

The rise of Houthi rebels who seized control of Sanaa and central areas last year, ultimately forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country in March has forced Saudi Arabia to mobilize and launch air strikes against the Shia fighters who are broadly thought to have backing both from Iran's central government and perhaps even from Yemen's former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who formally ceded power, after a very protracted Arab Spring process, by February 2012.


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