Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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African migrants: Houthis’ fuel to ignite war in Yemen

Thursday 08/August/2019 - 12:30 PM
The Reference
Mohamed al-Arif

 “I left my country in 2015 after the war, I did so to escape problems, to improve our life and security conditions, but I arrived here, and the Yemenis are living in very hard conditions… I am here without work or aids, I am stuck and cannot afford to go back, and there are many like me,” African immigrant Mohammed al-Zubaidi has said.

As war is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, African migrants flock in large numbers to Yemen, some drown at sea, and some arrive to suffer the bitterness of displacement.

A report by Rudaw Media Network says the waves of displacement from the Horn of Africa to Yemen are old, but have recently sparked widespread controversy over the possibility of exploiting them in the five-year conflict in Yemen.

The African scene, including armed conflicts, terrorism, absence of security, lack of communication with citizens, poses the biggest incentive for Africans to emigrate. 

In an earlier interview, Mukhtar Mohamed Ghobashi, advisor and vice president of the Arab Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said chaos makes Africa a good environment for terrorism.

Earlier this month, international media sources revealed that the Turkish military base in Mogadishu, Somalia, oversees the smuggling of Africans from Somalia and from several countries in Africa to Yemen.

The sources pointed out that Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Yemen and Turkish officials are dealing with representatives of the International Organization for Migration to smuggle Africans to Yemen legally through the Turkish military base in Somalia.

The Houthi militia began a process of attracting thousands of refugees who arrived in Yemen illegally across Bahrain, in a scheme that reveals a future trend to rely on African mercenaries in order to compensate the severe losses in its rows.

According to local Houthi notes obtained by sources in Sanaa, the militia has allocated a large area of up to 8000 square meters, to establish a refugee camp, which is scheduled to receive 1000 refugees from the Horn of Africa, especially Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea.

With the massive influx of refugees from the Horn of Africa into Yemen, and Yemenis refraining from joining the Houths, after the scandalous Iranian project was exposed, militias began considering African refugees to join their rows.

In addition to using them as “mercenaries” to bolster their dilapidated fighting fronts without having to spend as much money on them as they did with tribal elders, the militias believe they can also take advantage of them by receiving millions of dollars in support from international organizations and rich nations.

International organizations concerned with migrants and refugees, said that nearly 300 thousand refugees face security problems in Yemen, and are seeking protection or refuge in neighboring countries. These migrants do not have the status of immigration or legal asylum in accordance with international laws.
Mohamed Ezzedin
Mohamed Ezzedin
Ali Taysir, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Rights in the Houthi government, said: "The number of migrants to Yemen is about one million Africans.” While international organizations say they have only reached 400,000 immigrants.

For his part, Mohamed Ezzedin, an expert in African affairs, said that Africa is experiencing a state of social and political imbalance, which makes it a fertile environment for conflicts and civil wars.

He added in his interview with The Reference that The Gulf activism in the Yemen war has contributed to the opening of the borders significantly, making the migration movement wider, under the continued recruitment of Africans by extremist groups.

Shiism has spread widely in West Africa recently, causing the creation of many Iranian arms, and increased migrations after the Houthi control of Bab al-Mandab, which made the crossing easier to Yemeni territory.