Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 29th 2014 Contents A26
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Ubah Mohammed Abdule, 33, left, feeds her son Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, 8, right, Sunday, as her daughter
Neshad Yusuf Ahmed, 5, centre, looks on, outside her hut in the Shedder refugee camp near the town of
Jigjiga, in far eastern Ethiopia. AP PHOTO
Ethiopia---The Somali mother s home
is a small shelter with a frame of sticks
covered by ragged blankets on the
dusty grounds of a refugee camp.
It was to her that her 15-year-old
son wanted to travel to on an impossible
journey as a stowaway on a plane from
Ubah Mohammed Abdule hasn't
seen her boy, who was hospitalised in
Hawaii after landing there in the wheel
well of a jetliner, for eight long years.
Wearing a black cloth head covering
with white diamond pattern, Abdule
wept as she stood before her flimsy
shelter with her meager possessions
inside and spoke about her son. She
told journalists from The Associated
Press who travelled to see her in remote
eastern Ethiopia that she was alarmed
by the dangerous method of travel her
Those who stow away in wheel wells
of airplanes have little chance of sur-
viving, and those who attempt it are
often Africans trying to get to a better
life in Europe or America.
But Yahya Abdi had been unhappy
in California and desperately missed
his mother, those who know his family
there said. So on April 20, Abdi hopped
a fence at San Jose International Airport
and climbed into a wheel well of a jet-
liner. It was bound for Hawaii, the
wrong way. He has not spoken publicly
about the ordeal.
"I knew he was an intelligent boy
who has strong affections for me. I also
knew he always wanted to see me, but
I know his father won't let them contact
me at all," Abdule said.
Abdule has not even spoken to her
son by phone. The boy's father has lied
to their three children, the mother said,
telling them that she's dead.
"The father of Yahya first took the
children away from me to Sudan. Then
he came back to Somalia and demanded
my consent for him to take the children
to the US if I want a formal divorce.
I was not OK with that and said no,"
Abdule said through tears. "Finally, he
took all three of my children to the US
without my knowledge."
The father, Abdulahi Yusuf, said in
a statement Sunday issued through a
family spokesman in California that
his son was "struggling adjusting to
life" in America.
The Shedder Refugee Camp is in far
eastern Ethiopia, near the border with
Somalia, and is home to some 10,300
Somalis who fled their country because
of Islamic militant violence. Most
Somalis here are from minority groups
who face persecution.
Abdule, 33, moved into the camp in
early 2010, leaving behind the Somali
capital of Mogadishu where heavy fight-
ing was occurring. She earns a small
income by selling vegetables in the
The father said he plans to fly to
Hawaii soon to reunite with his son
and is "excited to bring him back home
to his family in California." He said the
family was "deeply concerned" when
the boy went missing and was relieved
to hear he was safe.
Abdule says she hasn't been eating
since learning of the news of her son's
misadventure. She said she has visions
of her now ex-husband not properly
caring for their children. (AP)
Stowaway boy's refugee mom cries for son
ABUJA---Nearly 200 teenage girls
in Nigeria have been missing for two
weeks after being taken captive by
suspected Islamist militants.
As activists plan a million-women
march on Abuja this Wednesday to
demand their rescue, some analysts
say the dire security situation in Nige-
ria's northeast could destroy Nigerian
President Goodluck Jonathan's chances
for re-election next year.
For some women in the country's
restive north, the government's failure
to rescue the teenage students is an
affront to all women.
"We have a national leader who is
supposed to champion the protection
of the entire country," said Aishatu
Ngulde, a member of Baobab for
Women's Human Rights in Maiduguri,
the original home of the Boko Haram
insurgency. "But since this thing hap-
pened, we have never had our pres-
ident tell the entire nation that he is
deploying our air force with their jets."
The frustration is mounting, with
many people saying they cannot
understand why the school was not
better guarded in the first place.
Ayo Omolale, 30, is a political sci-
ence student at the University of Abuja.
He says two weeks after the girls were
kidnapped the public is increasingly
frustrated by the government's failure
to save them. "(People are) panicking
because they do not know what is
happening to them right now. Of
course they might be raped," said Ayo
Omolale, 30, a political science student
at the University of Abuja, explaining
that saving the girls is more complex
than just political will.
"Militants may be holding the girls
as sex slaves, cooks or porters, but
they ultimately also serve as a human
shield' for militants," he said, adding
that he thinks this possibility may pre-
vent the military from attacking the
culprits with "full force."
Clement Nwankwo, who heads the
Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre in
Abuja, said ultimately the central gov-
ernment controls security forces, and
will take the blame if they are not
found. "The immediate responsibility
on dealing with the security issues lies
with the president and his security
chiefs," he noted. "And he needs to
inform the governors, which is also
what he needs to do with Nigerians,
inform Nigerians what steps he is tak-
ing to address the security issues."
But some young people say it is not
the ruling party nor the opposition
party they blame, but all of their lead-
Activists demand Nigeria
rescue abducted schoolgirls
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