The case of the unwanted US Somalis

Some 30 Somalis living and working in the USA have been deported to Somalia without charge or reasons given.

Many of these people came to the USA as babies or young men to escape the state of anarchy which persists in Somalia today. Many had been in the United States for so long, that they considered it as home. Expelled, without money or passports, these people find themselves living a terrified existence in the unfamiliar surroundings of a squalid hotel in Mogadishu.

These people had been living and working legally in the United States. They were rounded up last week from their homes and offices, taken by Air Marshall to Buffalo, New York, flown to Amsterdam, then Djibuti and finally, Somalia.

They complain that they were denied their basic human rights, that they were beaten and that the US authorities threatened to inject them with sedatives if they caused problems.

23-year-old Abdulrazak Allen, from Atlanta, declared “I was taken from my classroom and met with an immigration officer. The next thing I know, I was here. I don’t even speak the language”. He is not the only case. The others all complain that they were dumped in a hostile environment without the minimum means to support themselves. All say that they were shackled together on the aircraft and some complain that they were drugged. Medication was taken from them, including insulin from diabetics and anti-depressants, causing anxiety among the users.

One of the men, Jama Jama Jaffar, said: “They kept asking if we knew any al-ittihad (an Islamic group operating from Somalia which has links to Al-Qaeda). They kept asking if we knew people who killed people in Somalia. I kept telling them that I left Somalia in 1978! I don’t know anybody”. Another said he had committed a misdemeanour for car theft but that he was not a terrorist.

Their lives are in danger. One resident of Mogadishu said: “These men are not Somalis. You can tell a mile off they are from America, and people here do not like Americans”. Unarmed, with no money or documents, they are stranded and are not able to hire body guards to protect them, like the rest of the international community.

Amnesty International in London confirmed that there had been similar cases of Pakistanis being treated in the same deplorable manner.

Although US law stipulates that residents committing certain types of crime can be deported, under international law, which the USA likes to quote, it is illegal to deport a citizen to a country without a central government, such as Somalia. Neither does the USA recognise the transitional government of Somalia.


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