Les Benadirs réfugiés au Yémen veulent quitter le pays/ The Benadirs who took refuge in Yemen want to leave the country

Les Bénadir sont une communauté vivant sur les côtes de Somalie et dont les origines sont perses, arabes et d’Asie centrale. Ils ont longtemps vécu en Somalie comme marchands et pêcheurs pacifiques et semblent ne pas avoir pris part aux conflits qui ont déchiré et déchirent toujours le pays. 500 se sont réfugiés au Yémen en 1992. Cette année, la paralysie semblait totale en Somalie ainsi qu’au sein de l’ONU qui n’arrivera pas à  intervenir.

[1992: c’est l’année où les États-Unis ont lancé l’opération “Restore Hope”] après plus de deux ans de désintérêt complet de la communauté internationale vis-à-vis de la crise politique qui déchirait le pays. Le représentant spécial des Nations unies en Somalie, l’ambassadeur algérien Mohamed Sahnoun, malgré la qualité de son travail, n’a pu éviter, à cause de l’étroitesse de son mandat et de l’incompétence de certaines agences des Nations unies, la multiplication des pillages et le rançonnement des organisations humanitaires par des gangs de mieux en mieux structurés. Il a démissionné le 27 octobre 1992. Quelques semaines plus tard, la situation semblait dans une impasse totale. [Le 9 décembre 1992, les américains lançaient leur opération] (État du Monde 1992-93).

Canadian in SomaliaIl est intéressant de savoir que des Canadiens (voir photo) ont participé aux opérations. Et que le Canada non plus n’en est pas ressorti avec les honneurs qu’il s’attendait à recevoir

Les Benadir n’ont pas attendu l’arrivée des États-Unis et du Canada, qui ont de toutes façons empiré les choses…

Les Bénadir vivent comme citoyens de seconde classe au Yémen, et sont considérés comme des réfugiés somaliens alors qu’ils veulent être vus pour ce qu’ils sont: des Bénadirs.

The Benadirs are :

communities [who] live in the Somali coast, such as Mogadishu, Merka, Brava and Kismayo on the Benadir coast of the Indian Ocean.”Benadir” (also spelled Banadir) are a people with their roots in ancient Arabia, Persia, and south and central Asia. The name Benadir is derived from a Persian word which means “harbor” or “port”, reflecting their origins as sea-faring traders and fishermen who crossed the Indian Ocean to the easternmost part of Africa and established centers of commerce which linked that continent with Asia. The Benadir very much view themselves as native and even founder of Somalia (Wikipedia).

Some of them fled to Yemen in 1992. In December of that year, the United States (and Canada – see picture of canadian soldiers in Somalia above) iniated Operation “Restore Hope”. But before the arrival of the USA, the Benadirs already fled teh contry and 500 families arrived in Yemen. But they are considered second class citizen in that country and want to leave again (IRIN):

Batoul Abdul-Rahman, 85, witnessed much conflict and persecution in the many years she lived in her home country, Somalia. She fled to Yemen in 1992, seeking a better life, but has had to endure miserable conditions in the impoverished Arabian nation.

“My life has become a long wait. We are awaiting the unknown. The sea has thrown us to this place to be received by no one but misery,” she said.

Unable to move because of a medical condition, Batoul lives in one room with her daughter and nine grandchildren. The room is four meters in length and three in width. “Destiny has confined me to this room for the past three years,” Batoul said.

Batoul’s family is one of 500 ‘Benadir’ families from the southern coastal region of Somalia, including Mogadishu, of the same name who have lived in Yemen since 1992.

“They fled en masse from their homeland after they experienced some of the worst forms of persecution by the dominant clans during the course of ethnic disorder in 1991,” Abdul-Qader Mao Omar, deputy head of the Benadir Community in Sana’a, told IRIN.

The Benadir are an ethnic group in Somalia with roots in ancient Arabia, Persia, and south and central Asia. They are not ethnically related to the Somali people but are descended from immigrants, specialists say. Benadirs have a long history as merchants and artisans.

During the Somalia’s civil war, which began in 1991, Benadir clans did not take up arms and were not aligned to any warring clan.

“The Benadirs are people of peace, and when the war broke out in 1991, we were seen as a minority as we didn’t make use of arms,” said Omar, who holds a PhD in economics from an Italian university.

In Yemen, they are scattered in the provinces of Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, al-Hudeidah and al-Mukalla. Because of the poor conditions they live in, they have been demanding that they be resettled in a third country.

Living in misery

“We have been living in misery and our future has been gloomy since we arrived in Yemen. We call on international humanitarian organisations to help us resettle in a third country,” said Mohammed Abdu Noor, a Benadiri living in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

The Benadirs in Yemen say that they should be recognised as Benadirs and not treated as Somali refugees as they did not fight during the civil war but fled to Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen.

“Those who fled to Yemen were unlucky, while those who fled to other countries have been resettled in developed countries like the US and Canada just because they were recognised as Benadir,” said Yunus Abdi Noor, another Benadiri in Yemen. “My sister fled to Kenya and was resettled in the US. We are also unable to contact our relatives there as they don’t know anything about us here in Yemen.”

Benadir families in Yemen depend on menial jobs, with most of their women working as house cleaners. Omar said children are unable to study as parents cannot afford school fees. Housing, health and social standards are very low for them, he added.

Yusuf Ali, a 32-year-old Benadir father of three, washes cars every day in Sana’a and said sometimes he earns a small amount of money and sometimes he comes home empty-handed.

His wife, Kalthoum Ali, works as a house cleaner to help pay rent for their home, which consists of just one small room and a toilet.

“My husband and I and our three children live in this cramped room. He and I leave it in the morning and we lock up our children until I return in the afternoon with some food I get from the house I work in,” Kalthoum said. “The only thing we own is the refugee card, which represents no hope. We are ready to live in any country except Yemen and Somalia,” she added.

A signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, Yemen is home to more than 100,000 refugees, mostly Somalis.

One comment

Comments are closed.