- Djibouti has become a common migration route for Somali asylum seekers wanting to reach the Middle East, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported. Most of them travelled by patched boats from Djibouti to Yemen.
This year alone, more than 550 Somali asylum seekers and migrants entered Djibouti through Somaliland. About 700 such people sneaked their way into Djibouti last year.
A joint UNHCR/government team was informed about the frequent flow of asylum seekers from Somaliland.
The Spokesperson of UNHCR, Ron Redmond, told journalists in Geneva that "previously, some asylum seekers would make a treacherous journey around the hilly region separating Djibouti and Somaliland to avoid being stranded at the border for days."
UNHCR and government authorities have requested the Somali asylum seekers to be allowed entry into Djibouti and remain their under international obligations.
Djibouti government and UNHCR are trying to set up a reception facility close to the border where asylum seekers could be received and screened before they are transferred to Ali Addeh camp. This camp is currently hosting 7,000 refugees from Somalia.
The refugees complained of receiving little assistance in settlements for internally displaced persons and have no means of livelihood.
Border authorities accused smugglers of roaming Somaliland, offering to take asylum seekers and migrants by boat on a dangerous journey to the Gulf of Aden to Yemen.
Last year, of the nearly 3,000 people who arrived in Yemen, 1,400 people who attempted to cross the Gulf died or are missing.
Last year alone, more than 29,000 people sailed on the shores of Yemen. However, over 1,400 could not survive during the journey.
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