Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-At least 100 Somali migrants who had been detained in Libya for an extended period were repatriated to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu on Tuesday.

These returning immigrants, mostly young people who had sought to travel to European countries illegally in search of refuge due to conflicts, unemployment, and poverty, were returned through the collaborative efforts of the Federal Government of Somalia, Libyan Government and the International Organization for Migration.

Rage Osman, the Director of the Arab Relations Department at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that ongoing discussions are being held with the Libyan government to ensure the smooth facilitation of the return of another huge number of Somali migrants.

“We extend our appreciation to the Federal government, especially the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President, and other individuals involved. We also express our gratitude to the International Organization for Migration and the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their collaboration in this process,” Director Rage said.

“This need to be an example for other Somali youth who are seeking refuge through illegal means. There is a substantial number of Somali citizens who are still in the hands of smugglers, and we are cooperating with the Libyan government to speed up the return of those individuals soon,” he added.

Ambassador Maryan Yassin Yusuf, the Special Presidential Envoy for Children’s and Migrants Rights, reiterated the government’s commitment to facilitating the return of Somali migrants detained not only in Libya but also in other countries.

“I thank the Office of the President for providing us with the necessary support throughout this process. It brings us immense joy to witness our people returning to their homeland after enduring a gruelling and challenging journey. This is a collective effort involving various ministries within the federal government, including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Security, and other key ministries. We will redouble our efforts to find similar solutions for those who are still enduring hardships in Libya and other countries,” Ambassador Maryan Yassin stated.

She highlighted the challenges that the immigrants had faced during their pursuit of refuge in the hands of smugglers.

“These youth have endured torture, harassment, human rights abuses, and several other challenges. Their parents have been extorted for large sums of money to secure their release from the smugglers, who subsequently hand them over to others who mistreated them equally,” she explained.

Ambassador Maryan encouraged Somali youth who are seeking refuge and are en route through Sudan to contact the ministry, which is ready to facilitate their return.

“I urge all Somali immigrants currently in Sudan who are contemplating illegal immigration to return to their country. They can contact the ministry, and as a government, we are prepared to facilitate their return and welcome them with open arms,” Ambassador Maryan added.

Khalil Adan Hassan, one of the returning migrants, expressed his appreciation to the federal government as he recounted the harrowing challenges he faced during his detention in Libya.

“I am filled with immense joy today to return to my country after being away for 15 years. I was part of the detainees and spent 4 years in Tripoli, Libya, enduring extreme mistreatment and torture. We thank the federal government of Somalia, particularly the involved ministries and Ambassador Maryan Yassin, who played a vital role in facilitating our return,” Khalil said.

“Without our government, our return wouldn’t have been possible. We could have remained in detention for the rest of our lives,” he added.

Khalil urged Somali individuals who are considering traveling to other countries through any means to seek refuge to stay in their home country and utilize their skills to invest in its development.

“I have been away from my country for 15 years, and I see transformation in our country. For those who are planning to seek refuge in other countries, I encourage you to stay in your country and invest in it with your knowledge and skills,” Khalil stated.

Thousands of immigrants are held captive by smugglers in coastal regions in Libya, where they endure mistreatment and torture until huge ransoms are paid to the smugglers by the families of each individual.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an average of between 2500 to 3000 people die or go missing at sea every year.

In 2023, the data shows that the total number of missing people and deaths adds up to 2652.

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