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Somaliland struggles to stem youth migration ahead of election

Thousands of people who traveled from horn of Africa have died making the perilous voyage and hundreds are missing.

By Jamal Ibrahim, jamal@alleastafrica.com

HARGEISA –  The breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland has moved to stem the migration by the enclave’s youth who continue to make dangerous sea Journeys to the Middle East and European countries.

Desperate people, including many from Somaliland continue to make the perilous journey to Yemen and Libya, with the UNHCR says the number of people seeking asylum from Somalia has increased in recent years.

Thousands of people who traveled from horn of Africa have died making the perilous voyage and hundreds are missing.

Meanwhile, the Illegal migration is stoking a fierce debate in Somaliland ahead of the presidential election which is set to take place in November, prompting calls by authorities and youth activists to stop the deadly migration.

Abdiaziz Said Salah, the chairman of the Somaliland National Youth Organization (Sonyo)

“We are urging the youth to avoid making those dangerous journey and not to risk their precious lives,” said Abdiaziz Said Salah, the chairman of the Somaliland National Youth Organization (Sonyo) in an interview with Alleastafrica.

Mr. Salah said that despite limited resources, his organization is currently working flat out a new initiative to contain the problem .

“At one point, we are going to teach youth nationalism and democracy, so that youth will be empowered to engage in governance and participate in politics and decision-making.” he said.

The rise in the number of young men and women taking sea journeys is partly due to poverty and unemployment, two key factors that officials are driving desperate youth to consider taking such risky trips.

In the meantime, local officials say the smugglers’ boats usually land along a remote coastal areas from where they pick migrants.

The issue of migration is major concern in Somaliland, which is weighing to send troops to stop migrants from taking sea journeys. However, the issue remains controversial, with many locals pressuring the government to provide alternative provisions before moving to stop migrants.

However, Mr. Salah remains unconvinced saying that the migration threatens the future of the youth, presenting several recommendation that he believes could help stop migration.

“Community integration, fighting tribalism that remains a major problem should be key priorities.” he said.

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