HARGEISA, 11 October 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Migration can be defined as the movement of large groups of people go to live in another area or country especially in order to find work . Migration, therefore, has been a chronic national problem since Somaliland regained its independence from Somalia in 1991. Thousands of Somaliland youth migrate (legally or otherwise) from their country every year to Europe and North America. They risk their lives by taking a dangerous means to get their desired destinations.

Out of the thousands that migrate, few are lucky enough to put their feet on western soil. However, there are countless challenges faced by such youth and among these hardships include: facing legal problems in transit countries due to the unaware of the political, economical and legal consequences of moving from one country to another .

The remaining few of them who are fortunate to get away from being detained in the degrading Libyan jails mostly dies in the Mediterranean Sea. The number one reason causing their death are the types of boats they are boarding. The boats are dug-out canoes around 10 meters long with an outboard motor fixed on the back. The boats are open to the elements and have insufficient life jackets or protective clothing. The traffickers send to sea the immigrants —60 to 70 crammed in a boat—with only a hand-held compass for guidance. They have no phone or radios to summon help in an emergency.

Some others die due to hunger because their meager funds has been robbed by blood sucking traffickers.

These young generation who are risking their lives aren’t blind from all these adventures but some of them have even on the top of their heads memorized the list of the names of the hundreds of young people who are daily reported to have been drowned in the sea. This month alone, a boat carrying 47 Somaliland youth went missing and the parents on those on board are sleepless due to the constant anxiety and worriness feelings.

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What follows present the first part of personal account of a young Somaliland girl who traveled to Europe on foot and her sad stories during her trip.

This personal account demonstrates the shocking situations Somaliland girls goes through during their Tahriib to Europe.

To Europe by Foot

A reporter from Hadhwanaag’s radio section by the name of Ahmed Haji Barkhad interviewed a young Somaliland girl on 21 September, 2009 who made most of her travel to Europe on foot. Here is the summary of her story .

The young girl which the reporter didn’t mention her name came from Gabiley region. She run off to Djibouti when she was 19 years of age with out the permission of her parents.

She stayed with her aunt until the idea of Tahriib came to her mind on August 2008. She began to convert her thought into action and set out from Djibouti 21 days later. “You take a car from Obokh, (Djibouti) to Asab (Eritrea),” she said. But due to the political conflict between the two countries, she and her colleagues couldn’t cross the border by car but instead they started walking on foot from Obokh to Asab, approximately 180km distance.

The rough mountainous journey took her three days and three nights with out resting a single hour. They were afraid that the Djibouti army will capture them and would return them back to Djibouti, ruining her long awaited dreams. She and her group comprising 15 male and 3 female have seen poisonous snakes. She said there were no trees to rest under and hid from the burning rays of the sun in the Sahara.

They have seen dead bodies. She was her first time to see dead bodies lying on the Sahara. People die due to thirst. The scene had caused her not to eat for almost 9 days and had nightmares in her dreams at nights. When she couldn’t sleep and jump from her sleeps, her Tahriib partners read versus of the quran over her. Later, which she felt alright.

Luckily they crossed the Eritrean border at night. Then Eritrean border patrol took them from Raxayte to Musawa. In Musawa, they met with the group of people who left the two died bodies in the Sahara. After she asked those people why they left these dead bodies in the Sahara, they told her that the two people were alive when they left them. They said these two people couldn’t walk due to the friction of their thighs and they left them there. She told her that one of the two died bodies had a bite on the shoulder and the head.

Some of the relatives of the two dead bodies called her from Burao. When she started telling the condition of dead bodies to their families on the phone, she cried and the families hung up the phone and never called her again. She stayed eight days in Asmara, Eriteria’s capital. Then she and other 60 persons were taken from Asmara to Mukuli, a camp for the Somali refugee.

The people in the camp asked her many question regarding the cause of her travel to Eritrea. They asked her why she bothered to walk on Sahara where travelers die of thirst. Then again she started walking on foot from Eritrea to Sudan. A group of Mukhalisiin, smugglers, from Yemen arranged pick-ups from Eritrea Sudan. But the Pick-ups put them on Arxiiba, a district on the border of Sudan which is very far from Khartoum. They told them that their fare has run out. Then they started walking on foot and they got lost. They met with a group of robbers. As they were trying to escape from these robbers, then they got again lost. A night and a day, they couldn’t know where they were going. Later, they saw a sea a herd of camels. A boy who was with them got sick.

Then, the girl and another boy walked towards where live seemed possible. They met with an old man who drew a gun and pointed towards them, fearing that they were robbers. The boy who was walking with the girl knew Arabic. The old man welcomed them. They told the old man that there was a sick boy they left behind. Then the old man took the sick boy to one of his camels. The stayed with the old man at the night. Then they said good bye to the old man the next morning.

Then they walked 12 hours to another camp. In the afternoon, the rode a bus. They have passed vast deserts. They were walking under a rain for three days. They crossed a lake. They took a car near the river but unluckily, the car broke. They were walking in the burning Sahara for three hours and some of them vomited a blood. Finally, they have arrived Khartoun.

To be continued…………….

Written by Adnan A. Hassan
Hargeisa, Somaliland


  1. i was born in the hood of somali community in canada, i am impressed about ur article and the way you have postrayed the foot struggle to europe by that girl. amazing work. it is like u who can change the volatile situation in somalia and somaliland. borther nations will remeber ur foot steps.

  2. Why are you guys from Canada are mean to other Somalilanders from Canada in Somaliland, be polite, you guys are the worst human beings,

  3. That is the price young people have to pay leaving their country and love ones behind risking their lives. The grass is not always green on the side as many of us believe. It is a myth and not a reality. Tahriib is not the answer to our problems. There is a future in our country, qofkuna wadankiisuu sharaf ku leeyahay.

    I urge the Government to create jobs for young people, educate them on the risk involved and encourge them to stay at home. It is heart-breaking to see dead bodies on deserts and on the shores of other countries. It is shame on us all and a black face on the government not acting to stop it.

  4. Once more I am amazed the talented writters we have in Somaliland, Adnan you shed light to the issue that is claiming the lives of our young people in this decade. We need to raise awareness of this, and its usually the families abroad that should discourage them instead of proving the funds for them to start their journey. well done and keep up the good work.

  5. Migration was always a problems and it will stay that way until people realize the risks. When the risk you are taking is taking your life, one shouldn’t take that risk. People who are taking these risks are those who have families and friends abroad.

    Today the process of immigrate are harder than it was ten years ago. Even having the ligal document, they still face problems. People in the west had enough with those in the East and they don’t want to take them in anymore.

    When you have a gun on your head and you have no choice because your land is no longer safe, it maybe be worth to take the risk;however, Somalilanders don’t face that today. I can understand that people face unemplyement back home but they have security.

    We need people who go every city and towns in Somaliland and tell this is not good for them. At the end, it would be personal choice.

  6. Ya Adnan this is all the responsiblity of Our persident he should create jobs for youth . we have got the best country ever in this world.

  7. Good job Adnan thanks for shedding light on such dark chapter among our youth.

    This is not a problem only faced by youths in Somaliland but a global one as population grows people are risking all to make it to the "developed world". I predict in few decades humanity will look for a new spot to shift perhaps Asia, Middle East…we wont know yet but there will be an end to Europe and American economies and power.

  8. Well done Adnan we thank u the way you encourage S/lander's to stay their land,
    but this is all the responsibility of S/land Government to orient youth.