Unable to balance the books
Economist — 17 June 2014
In the midst of a 36-hour blackout the day after, young men set up roadblocks, first in the backstreets and then on the city’s main roads and squares, bringing activity to a halt. “We are here because there is no fuel, no electricity, no water, everything is expensive, there are no jobs and the government does nothing to help us,” says 24-year-old Muhammad Saleh. “Something needs to change.” Abd Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi, Yemen’s president, responded with a government reshuffle and announced that more fuel would be brought into the capital from the western port of Hodeidah. The protesters left the streets, but they are likely to return. Government officials gloomily predict worsening shortages—and unrest—in the coming months. The simple fact, they admit, is that Yemen is running out of cash.
How Gulf Initiative has worsened Yemen’s crisis
Al-Monitor — 2 June 2014
The transitional phase in Yemen has made people look positively to the days of former President Saleh. Today, the economic situation has worsened and the armed conflict has increased. Government corruption is spreading because government jobs are handed out on a partisan basis. This raises questions about the legitimacy of the governing parties, especially with the extension of the transitional period without taking it to the people in a referendum, and in the absence of a representative parliament or even a timetable for the transitional phase. That phase has been extended for one year and is subject to further renewal under the pretext that the power-transition process is not finished in Yemen according to the Gulf Initiative.
Yemen’s Torture Camps
Human Rights Watch — 26 May 2014
For decades, migrants from Africa have passed through Yemen to seek work in Saudi Arabia. Since 2010, more than 337,000 migrants and refugees have landed on Yemen’s coastline from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Their numbers rose significantly, and then dipped in July 2013, most likely due to a Saudi crackdown on undocumented migrant workers, only to rise again in March 2014. A multi-million-dollar trafficking and extortion racket has developed in Yemen based on the migrants’ passage. Its locus is the hot and dry northern Yemeni border town of Haradh, where one government official estimated that trafficking and smuggling make up about 80 percent of the economy.
Yemen kicks out foreign correspondents
Columbia Journalism Review — 4 June 2014
The outcry over Baron’s departure—even a Yemeni official in Washington tweeted his disapproval—brought up the uncomfortable division between foreign and local media in countries that only rarely make US headlines. There is a substantial group of Yemeni commentators and journalists on Twitter and elsewhere, writing in English as well as Arabic. In focusing on the journalists that fit the traditional picture of foreign correspondent, it could seem that the Western media is sidelining this font of information.
New laws could halt flourishing of private radio station
Yemen Times — 5 June 2014
The 2011 uprising heralded massive change in Yemen’s media landscape. Before the uprising there were no private radio stations at all in Yemen—only government run stations. Since the uprising, however, new radio stations have flourished, capitalizing on unprecedented freedom and a lack of regulation. At the moment there are eight private radio stations in Yemen and others are in the process of starting up, according to Abdulla Al-Jawzi, the director of Yemen FM Radio.
Strike halts printing of five Aden-based newspapers
Yemen Times — 5 June 2014
Five daily newspapers in Aden suspended printing on Wednesday following a strike by employees of the state-run October 14 Establishment for Printing, Press and Publication that began Tuesday. The printing press is used by all Aden-based newspapers as it is the only industrial press in the city.
Yemen’s media in transition
Al-Jazeera —2 4 May 2014
Just as the Renaissance in Europe was boosted by the development of print media, so has today’s modern media been key to mobilising Arabs during the recent and ongoing revolutionary transitions. But as much as media was a tool of change, it itself underwent transformation. This transformation has been as rapid as it has been ungoverned. Thus there has been an important debate across the Arab World about the new role media is now playing and about how much it should be regulated. In this context, it is interesting to take a look at the case of Yemen and its media landscape.
Fact-finding committee to look into violence at October 14 newspaper
Yemen Times — 10 June 2014
Aden governor Waheed Rashid on Sunday formed a fact-finding committee to investigate the violence that took place the day before at the state-run October 14 Establishment for Printing, Press and Publication in Aden. The incident saw security personnel breaking into the establishment and injuring at least five protesting journalists. Employees at the establishment went on strike on Tuesday over alleged corruption by the company’s chairman, Mohammad Ali Sa’d. The strike continued until Friday, with workers preventing Sa’d from entering the building. Ayman Esam Saeed, the spokesperson for the striking workers, said Sa’d paid YR200,000 ($930) to security guards to accompany him in breaking into the headquarters of the establishment on Saturday. However, the staff prevented him from entering and in the ensuing confrontation between the strikers and security forces five journalists were injured.
New Yemen report shows girls lagging behind
UNICEF — 17 June 2014
Girls in Yemen continue to lag behind boys, with fewer chances to go to school and reach their potential and increased vulnerability to early marriage and maternal mortality, according to new research by UNICEF and the Government of Yemen launched today. “Though there has been some progress in legislation and policy development in Yemen, this has not yet translated into the fulfilment of the rights of children, especially girls”, says Julien Harneis UNICEF Representative. “What is needed is country-wide community dialogue and empowerment in addressing social norms and values detrimental to girls’ rights to ensure a sustainable response in addressing harmful traditional practices.”
The unwarranted embrace of decentralization
Executive — 10 June 2014
As these conversations around federalism continue, it is important to keep in mind that governing a territory as large and complex as Yemen requires much more than mere bureaucratic efficiency. While the prospect of getting government documents signed in one’s home district rather than being forced to travel to the capital is appealing, such potential conveniences do nothing to address the deeper problems facing the country. The severe economic and political challenges facing Yemen and other states in the Arab region will not be resolved by a simple move to decentralize power.
Governor of Amran replaced amid fragile truce with Houthis
Yemen Times — 10 June 2014
In an attempt to put an end to the ongoing violence in Amran governorate the government agreed on Sunday to replace Mohammed Dammaj, Amran’s current governor, with Mohammed Salih Shamlan. A recently brokered truce between the Houthis and military is set to expire on Wednesday and the situation remains tense.
Yemen president reshuffles cabinet: state news agency
Reuters via Yahoo! News — 11 June 2014
Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi replaced several top ministers on Wednesday amid rising popular discontent driven in part by power cuts and high prices. The changes announced by state news agency Saba brought in new finance, oil and foreign ministers, among others.
Government enters into talks with leading Hirak figure
Yemen Times — 19 June 2014
Brigadier General Nasser Al-Nooba, a prominent founding member of the Southern Movement (Hirak), will begin talks with representatives of the ten countries sponsoring the GCC initiative within the next few days aimed at reaching a compromise between the secessionist movement and Yemen’s government, the state-run Saba News Agency reported on Monday. The planned talks will come after Al-Nooba earlier this month met President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and UN Special Advisor on Yemen Jamal Benomar.
The Challenge of Federalism in Yemen
Atlantic Council — 28 May 2014
One of the most contentious issues during the negotiations at the NDC was the management of natural resources and the allocation of their revenues. Again, the agreement reached by NDC delegates did not elaborate on the details and will need to be further articulated in the constitution. The NDC delegates agreed that “Natural Resources belong to the people of Yemen, and the management and development of natural resources, including oil and gas, and granting exploration and development contracts is the responsibility of the authorities in the producing States in participation with the authorities in the Region and the Federal Authorities.” They also agreed that “the management of local service contracts is the responsibility of the authorities in the producing State in coordination with the Region.” It was decided that the specifics of these authorities across the three levels shall be detailed by a Federal Regions Law.
Yemen’s Saleh denies theft, challenges accusers
Reuters via Yahoo! News — 2 June 2014
Other Yemeni officials may have looted public funds, but former president Ali Abdullah Saleh says he was not one of them and he has challenged his authorities to find one dollar acquired inappropriately and hold him to account. His critics in Yemen, an impoverished country of 25 million where 40 percent of the population live on less than $2 per day, accuse him of embezzling billions of dollars during his 33 years in power.
Tension in Yemen amid coup fears
Al-Jazeera — 17 June 2014
Yemen’s president has removed heavy artillery from the outskirts of the capital, following fears the former president was plotting a coup. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi removed the heavy weaponry stationed on hills surrounding Sanaa on Monday amid reports his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh was planning to topple him from power. An army official told the AFP news agency the military had dismantled “heavy artillery and rockets that were positioned on hills around Sanaa following information of a coup plot” by Saleh loyalists who “continue to infiltrate the army”.
Former South Yemen president says situation worsening every day
Al-Monitor — 13 June 2014
The former president of South Yemen added that under the Gulf Initiative, power has been equally divided between the opposition represented by the Joint Meeting Parties, and the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, represented by the General People’s Congress and its allies. This means that his close associates serve as an integral part in the current structure of the system in the Republic of Yemen. Those who are ruling today have already ruled alongside President Saleh or his cronies over the past 30 years.
Yemen’s political stalemate persists, as Houthis gain influence
Al-Monitor — 19 June 2014
The popular demands for change in 2011 led to the creation of a political situation rejecting change. Even the demand of reshuffling a cabinet described as a failure was not met; only the minister of interior was changed, while the oil minister had already resigned. The reshuffling, had it happened, would have led to the introduction of the Houthis as a new party in the unity government. This seems to be a concern to all parties to the government. No one is willing to assign a part of its stake, and no one agrees to see the Houthis, stretching out across the country, filling official positions.
Fighting Al Qaida in Yemen and the ulterior motive
Gulf News — 19 June 2014
If the Yemeni government’s main aim is to fight terrorism by eliminating Al Qaida, then the methods that are being used — whether military or political — may not be approved by international observers. It may actually weaken the position of the government and raise doubts concerning the scale and limits of its battle with Al Qaida.
Tribes and AQAP in South Yemen
Al-Monitor — 5 June 2014
Yemen cannot defeat AQAP through military action alone. Without substantial political reforms, counterterror operations will only raise tensions, aggravate conflicts, and deepen distrust in the government and the transitional process. The debate as to whether the tribes support a war against al-Qaeda is not relevant. Even if all the tribal leaders support the offensive, they cannot change the conditions that led to their members joining the extremist group—and it is certainly understandable that they would not risk their fragile social order for a government they distrust.
Car accidents kill more Yemenis than violence
Al-Monitor — 16 June 2014
In April, for example, firearms killed 26 people in Yemen and injured 78. In contrast, 42 people, including nine motorcyclists, were killed and 146 others were injured in traffic accidents in the first week alone. The victims came from all age groups.
Defense ministry claims 500 AQAP militants killed in Shabwa and Abyan offensives
Al-Monitor — 19 June 2014
Over a month after the Yemeni military’s latest offensive against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan and Shabwa began, the Ministry of Defense on Thursday claimed that the conflict left 500 Al-Qaeda affiliates and 40 soldiers dead. However, the claim has been met with skepticism.
Southern tribal leader escapes house arrest, allegedly joins AQAP
Al-Monitor — 19 June 2014
Tareq Al-Fadhli, a southern tribal leader and prominent figure of the Southern Movement, fled Aden to Abyan governorate, escaping house arrest imposed on him by Yemeni authorities since November 2012. Aden Al-Ghad, a news website that mainly reports on the south, claimed that on Tuesday Al-Fadhli told the website that he escaped his imprisonment to officially join Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), adding that he is currently in Al-Maraqesha mountains of Abyan.
Yemen’s Military Really Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know About Civilian Casualties
Vice News — 27 May 2014
As Yemen’s Army moved in on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) long-standing haven in the south of the country last month, a parallel assault was launched by the country’s Ministry of Defense — in the form of an unprecedented media campaign. Since April 28, when troops first massed to launch a ground assault against an apparent al Qaeda training camp, the defense ministry has posted 23 videos via its 26 September media outlet — by comparison, only two military-related videos appeared on its YouTube channel in all of 2013. On an almost daily basis over the past month, footage of the Army’s “great successes” against the insurgents have been relayed by the defense ministry’s “moral guidance department.” Commanders congratulate troops, and tanks and armored personnel carriers roll through seemingly deserted scrubland. Music is played over images of smiling soldiers.
Yemen says security forces kill senior al Qaeda leader
Reuters — 25 May 2014
Yemen’s security forces on Sunday killed a senior al Qaeda leader wanted for attacks on local and foreign targets in Sanaa, the Yemeni government said, after a raid near the capital in which at least four other militants died. The government said in a statement that two officers also died when anti-terrorism units raided an al Qaeda hideout and a car bomb-making facility in Bayt al-Adhari and Bani Hakam districts, in the Arhab region, and fought a gunbattle with its occupants. Two officers were also wounded.
Rebels and Tribesmen Clash in Yemen
AP via New York Times — 30 May 2014
Clashes between Shiite rebels and tribesmen backed by national army units in Yemen have killed at least 12 people, security officials and tribal leaders said Friday. Officials said that fighting resumed late Thursday night when Houthi rebels attacked a checkpoint and two locations where tribesmen from the Islamist Islah Party had gathered in the city of Amran, northwest of the capital, Sana. One official said the clashes killed five tribesmen and at least seven Houthis. The Houthis waged a six-year insurgency in the north, which officially ended in 2010. But the group recently has clashed with Sunni ultraconservatives.
Gunman attacks bus in south Yemen, killing 8 military hospital staff
AP via US News & World Report — 15 June 2014
A gunman opened fire on a bus transporting military hospital staff in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday, killing eight people, including two women, and wounding a dozen others, security officials and witnesses said. The attack on the bus in the commercial district of Sayla took place early in the day before rush hour. Shaher Mohammed Ali, a worker in the district, said he saw a lone masked gunman open fire on the bus after it slowed down before a ramp. The gunman then fled the scene in a car, Ali said.
Yemen air force strikes Shiite rebels
AFP via Daily Star — 17 June 2014
Yemeni warplanes hit Shiite rebel positions Tuesday in the north, where the army has come under repeated attacks after the collapse of a short-lived truce, local and military officials said. The latest fighting with Houthi rebels, also known as Ansarullah, erupted Sunday, ending an 11-day truce reached through mediation backed by United Nations envoy Jamal Benomar.
Drone strikes kill five suspected militants in Yemen
Reuters — 14 June 2014
A drone strike killed five suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen late on Friday, a local official and a tribal source told Reuters on Saturday. Yemen is the main stronghold of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the Islamist militant group’s most active wings. The United States acknowledges using drones to combat AQAP in Yemen but does not comment publicly on attacks.
Interpol calls for policing aid to Yemen
AFP via Daily Star — 17 June 2014
Interpol head Ronald K. Noble, on his first visit to Yemen, met President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi on Sunday and appealed for international aid for Sanaa to combat terrorism and maritime piracy. “The crimes which Yemen tackles on a daily basis, such as terrorism and maritime piracy have a global dimension and it is essential that they are provided the assistance they need, whether it is advanced technology or basics such as generators to keep their police stations open,” he said.
Fighting in Yemen displaces 20,000 people: UN
Gulf News — 7 June 2014
The UN and humanitarian organisations in Yemen are concerned about the new displacement of as many as 20,000 people in the country’s northern Amran governorate, due to heavy fighting between government forces and armed rebels in the last two weeks, a UN spokesperson said Friday. “The [UN] Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that a ceasefire in Amran came into effect two days ago and is reportedly holding,” reports quoted Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesperson, as saying at a daily news briefing here. “But it adds that the main road from the capital Sana’a to Amran remains closed.”
Three Troubling Lessons from the Latest U.S. Drone Strikes
Rolling Stone — 17 June 2014
As the deteriorating security situation in Iraq once again dominates headlines in the U.S., America’s dirty wars in the Middle East and South Asia continue with no sign of abating. Last week, the United States carried out one drone strike in Yemen and two in Pakistan, killing an estimated total of between 15 and 22 people, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an organization that tracks drone strikes closely. All of the dead were reported to be militants; human rights advocates note, however, that such claims are often discovered to be inaccurate or misleading following further investigation.
U.S. sanctions al-Qaida leader in Yemen
Xinhua — 17 June 2014
The United States on Tuesday slapped sanctions on a leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based group also known as AQAP. The State Department branded Shawki Ali Ahmed al-Badani as a specially designated global terrorist, while the Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on him that freeze all of his assets under U.S. jurisdiction and bar American citizens from doing business with him.
Is Synthetic Weed Fueling Yemen’s Terrorism?
Daily Beast — 23 May 2014
At a super storage warehouse lined with red steel doors, the agents allegedly uncovered hundreds of thousands of rainbow-clad bags bearing the inscription “Scooby Snax”—a code for “fake marijuana” or “spice.” But it was the $30 million to $40 million in profit they traced, and the receiving end of the money most of all, that was most alarming: Yemen.
Terrorist Attack Left All of Yemen In Darkness Last Week: Another Wake-Up Call
Forbes — 19 June 2014
News from Yemen last week further underscores that sense, as we learned that an attack on the power lines left the entire nation of Yemen (with its 23 million people) without power for a day. The country’s energy minister indicated that power lines were taken out, cutting power to all provinces. A ministry spokesman was quoted as saying “The act of sabotage at Kilometre 78 suspended the entire national power and energy grid, including at Marib’s gas plant, and cut power in all provinces.”
Yemen Builds a Road toward Greater Stability and Growth
World Bank — 3 June 2014
The World Bank is funding the first stretch of Yemen’s new highway, which will connect the port city of Aden in the south with the Saudi Arabian border near Saada in the north, a total length of 710 km. World Bank grant funds will pay for the southernmost section of 55km from the port of Aden to the town of Noubat Dokaim. Meant to serve mostly long-distance traffic, the new highway will be roughly parallel to the existing road, which carries a dangerous combination of speedy, long-distance traffic and slower, local traffic, including bicycles and carts. About 18,000 vehicles use it every day.
The History of Coffee Began in a Tiny City You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Mic — 17 June 2014
“Coffee was everything for Yemen,” said Sheikh Shabbir Ezzi, a Yemeni businessman at Al Ezzi Industries. “It’s a gift from our ancestors. You can see how important coffee was for Yemen from the emblem of the country. Inside the bird’s heart is a coffee plant.” Considered the “Wine of Arabia,” coffee drinking first appeared in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen in the 15th century where Arab Sufi monks adopted coffee as a drink that would allow them to more easily stay awake for midnight prayers. Soon enough the beverage slipped into everyday use and evolved into a lucrative trade item that spread throughout the Islamic world and sprouted clusters of kaveh kanes or coffee houses in Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and North Africa. These coffee houses became centers of intellectual life where men would meet together to talk, listen to and discuss poetry, share their opinions on the issues of the day or play games like chess and backgammon.
Politics of qat: The role of a drug in ruling Yemen
Yemen Times — 10 June 2014
The big changes that led to a spread of qat consumption throughout Yemen occurred in the 1970s because of two reasons: an increase of wealth, particularly during the oil price boom when so many Yemenis worked abroad, and because of the rapid change in the rural economy as farmers moved from cereal farming to cash crops. Qat emerged as the most profitable cash crop, able to support the rapidly growing rural population at income levels previously undreamed of.
Yemen tackles corruption and ill-gotten gains
Al-Shorfa — 13 June 2014
The ministry and its provincial offices are conducting the “Together to fight all forms and types of ill-gotten gains” campaign alongside Yemen’s Supreme National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Central Agency for Control and Audit. At the launch ceremony, Minister of Endowments Hamoud Abad stressed the importance of the campaign in fighting ill-gotten gains. Corruption “has become a disease that permeates many aspects of life, in both its public and private dimensions, whether in official or civil institutions” and it squanders the nation’s wealth, he said.
Qat trade banned in Socotra’s capital
Yemen Times — 12 June 2014
On Sunday local Socotran authorities banned the qat trade in Hadibo, the capital city of Arkhabeel Socotra governorate, and ordered qat shops to be moved out of the city. The selling of qat, but not the chewing of it, will no longer be permitted within the city.
Private sector agrees to buy diesel at market price
Yemen Times — 3 June 2014
The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Sunday said it agreed with the Ministries of Oil and Finance to accept a decision that diesel is to be sold to private companies at the unsubsidized price. The agreement comes after the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC) on May 27 announced that diesel would be sold to industrial and commercial enterprises at market rates.
Government to cut diesel subsidy for commercial and industrial ventures
Yemen Times — 29 May 2014
The Yemen Petroleum Company—the state-run supplier of fuel—decided Tuesday to abolish diesel subsidies for the commercial and industrial sectors, according to a report published by the state-run Saba News Agency. Individual consumers will still be able to buy diesel at the subsidized rate for YR125 ($0.58) per liter.
Yemenis juggle multiple jobs in difficult times
Yemen Times — 19 June 2014
Mohammed Noman, a 22-year-old student from Sana’a University, juggles two jobs on top of his studies. Noman attends university in the morning and works as a freelance painter and security guard at night. Holding multiple jobs is not uncommon in Yemen—a country where wages are often desperately low and fail to keep up with rising costs. According to the Central Statistics Office in Yemen, the inflation rate in the country averaged 11.54 percent from 2006 to 2014, peaking at 24.77 during the 2011 uprising. As average income failed to keep apace with rising costs of living and soaring food prices, Yemenis have increasingly taken on odd jobs to supplement their incomes.
Troubled times ahead for the Riyal
Yemen Times — 17 June 2014
Difficult times lie in wait for the Yemeni riyal (YR) because oil exports, the main source of income for the government, are on the decline due to the ongoing sabotage of the country’s major oil pipeline in Marib. The oil pipeline has been vulnerable to repeated attacks by local tribesmen in disputes with the central government in Sana’a. This has resulted in declining oil export revenues, which normally make up 70 percent of total revenue.
Illicit antiques trade threatens Yemen’s rich heritage
Yemen Times — 12 June 2014
Yemen has an incredibly rich history and beneath its hard-surfaced lands lie the remains of many great civilizations. However, its largely empty and barren landscape provides the opportunity to strike gold—literally in some cases—and poor security infrastructure and legal regulations enable, even encourage, people to become smugglers. Take, for example, a recent attempt in which a Yemeni man tried to smuggle a set of silver coins dating back to the ancient Himyarite Kingdom, the last kingdom in Yemen before the arrival of Islam, dating from 110 BC to 527 AD. In total, according to the Ministry of Culture, he was carrying 54 ancient artifacts.
Sana’a’s construction woes
Yemen Times — 10 June 2014
Due to the increasing number of vehicles slugging down Sana’a’s roads and the expansion of urban areas, the capital city has become overcrowded. Consequently, the government has built a number of bridges and tunnels to lessen traffic congestion. Many bridges have been built and others are still under construction. Those in use today include Al-Sadaqa Bridge, the Airport Bridge, and Al-Siteen Bridge, among others.
Re-energizing Yemen’s energy sector
Yemen Times — 2 June 2014
Yemen is not a major energy resource producer when compared to its Gulf neighbors, but its economy is heavily dependent on oil revenue. In 2010, just before the uprisings, approximately 60% to 70% of Yemeni government revenues and over 90% of foreign exchange earnings came from the sale of oil and gas. Oil reserves and production are in two basins—one in the Marib and Shabwa governorates and one in the east in Hadramout. There is speculation that Yemen may have larger reserves which hitherto have remained un-exploited because of the enduring security situation. What can Yemen do to maximize its oil resources moving forward?
Road construction dries up local business
Yemen Times — 10 June 2014
Yemen for Kitchens, an appliance store on Hadda Street in Sana’a that has been operating for 17 years, recently laid off four of its workers because of the financial losses it has faced since early 2013. The store used to turn a considerable profit, but that changed when construction on a long stretch of Hadda Street in front of the shop began a year ago, blocking off all traffic to the premises. The store can only be reached by a long, bumpy pathway strewn with litter that skirts the construction.
Yemen migrant boat sinking is ‘worst this year’ – UN
Mic — 6 June 2014
The UN’s refugee agency reports that 62 people have died off Yemen’s coast, in what it describes as the worst sinking incident in the region this year. Sixty migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia and two Yemeni crew members drowned in the accident last weekend, the UNHCR said on Friday. Every year thousands of Africans make the journey to Yemen in crowded boats.
Yemeni People Traffickers Prey on Ethiopia Migrants Seeking Work
Bloomberg — 2 June 2014
Sintayehu Beyene left Ethiopia planning to earn money to begin a carpentry business — he ended up captive in Yemen where Kalashnikov-wielding traffickers stole what little he owned. Grabbed from a boatload of migrant workers as it landed on a Yemeni shore, he says the armed gang whisked him inland to a desert camp. Beaten and detained for nine days with about 30 other people, he was forced to hand over the 1,400 Ethiopian birr ($72) he was carrying before being released. He crossed to neighboring Saudi Arabia, where wages are sometimes more than double the rates paid in Ethiopia, only to be deported a month later when authorities cracked down on illegal migrants.