60 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Yemen, seek repatriation help

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SANAA, April 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 60 Ethiopian illegal migrants, including 37 women, were stranded in war-torn Yemen, detained and they are seeking help to be repatriated, local news website Almasdaronline reported on Monday.

"We want to go to Saudi Arabia looking for a living not for problems," Abdo Yassin Idris was quoted by the pro-government Almasdaronline as saying in an interview at a police mandatory detention in Shmaytin district in the Yemeni southwestern province of Taiz.

Shmaytin is under the Yemeni government control.

Idris said they reached Yemen in March through a smuggling boat from Djibouti to the Yemeni southwestern province of Lahj on the Red Sea.

They then traveled on foot and were arrested upon their arrival in Shmaytin, about 20 km away from the front line where battles are raging between the government troops and Houthi rebels.

Idris said he and his group are seeking help to return safely to their homeland.

The UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Yemen could not immediately be reached for comment.

In January, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it airlifted 322 Ethiopians from Yemen in cooperation with the IOM. In November 2018, The Ethiopian authorities said they repatriated more than 400 illegal migrants from Yemen in cooperation with IOM.

African illegal migrants looking for better income chances were using Yemen as a transit point to their final destination, Saudi Arabia.

The illegal migrants reportedly face abuses by smugglers and other criminals, including arbitrary detention.

Yemen has been plagued in a civil war since late 2014. The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, mostly civilians, and pushed the Arab nation into the brink of starvation. Enditem

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