Puntland’s coastguard has detained people who smuggle immigrants and several immigrants in its waters as they tried to illegally cross to neighbouring Yemen in small boats, officials have said on Sunday.
The smugglers and immigrants of Somali and Ethiopia origins were caught by the coastguard as they prepared to embark their risky journey from Bari region waters.
Bari Governor, Yussuf Mohamed Wa’ays told reporters that they have arrested the smugglers who were taken to custody and might face charges of human trafficking.
“Operations against human trafficking will go ahead until we eradicate it from our region,’’ he said.
Among the rescued are women of mostly in their early-20s and children.
Every year, Tens of thousands of African migrants risk their lives to try and enter Europe on unseaworthy boats in search for a better life. Many die atrocious deaths – beaten, thrown overboard, eaten by sharks, drowned or asphyxiated in the hold of crowded smuggler boats.
Impoverished Yemen is mainly used as a transit country, with African migrants often aiming to move on to neighbouring oil-rich Gulf nations and Europe to find work and better life.
It was mid last month when Puntland coastal guard forces launched an operation hunting down people who smuggle immigrants to Sudan.
Admiral Abdirizak Diriye, the head of the coastal guards has told Goobjoog News that the smugglers have got a new route in which they ferry people to Sudan, then people would be taken to Libya where they cross the Mediterranean sea to Europe.
He however denied the existence of Puntland youths recruited by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) or better known as its Arabic acronym Daesh.
“Its lie that Deash recruits youths here, but I can tell you new smugglers have emerged with new route to Sudan” said the commander.
He said that there someone who masterminded all this, but now he is on the run.