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Suleiman Hassan, Yemen “Now that my parents are both dead I am alone in this world”

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Suleiman Hassan, Yemen “Now that my parents are both dead I am alone in this world”

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Suleiman Hassan, 11, lost his mother when their boat capsized crossing the Gulf of Aden

SANAA, 14 Feb 2007 (IRIN) - Suleiman Hassan Al Haj Mohammad is an 11-year-old Somali refugee. He and his mother fled conflict in Somalia and traveled by sea to Yemen. However, their boat capsized   on 27 December, 2006. Suleiman's mother, Noura Abdi Bashir, and up to 140 others died in the incident. Suleiman has been in a state of shock since then and had remained silent until now.

“With my mother's loss, I have lost interest in everything, even in mixing with people. And this is why I don’t have any friends.

“We had escaped from the civil war in Baidoa, Somalia, and the deteriorating living conditions there to come to Yemen. We do not have any relatives here but we had hopes that we would lead a better life. My mother paid US $100 - $50 for her and $50 for me – for the trip to Yemen.

“My dad died three years ago and since then my mother had been working on the farms to earn a living for us. But many times our food and money were stolen by those who were stronger than us.

“I am an only child and now that my parents are both dead I am alone in this world.

“I have never been to school in my whole life because I was born during the [Somali civil] war. My mother wanted to take me to Yemen so that I could learn reading and writing. She wanted me to have a better future, but she couldn't fulfill her dream because she drowned in the sea.

“They told me that they took her body out of the water after it had been there a week. When I asked them how she looked, they told me her body was swollen and fish ate her eyes. Her skin color changed and she lost her hair too. I am very sad because she died. May God have mercy on her soul.

“I hope I will be able to go to school to fulfill her dream. I want to be an engineer. I wish I could hear the news of my family [the Alay clan] in Somalia too.

“We escaped a difficult life there and we came to a more miserable one. We live in a refugee camp in Lahej governorate [125 km west of Aden] which lacks almost everything: books, clothes and nice blankets. The beds and the blankets are old and worn out. We are about 4,000 or 5,000 people here and we survive on the generosity and assistance provided by the Somali community in Yemen.”

Source: IRIN





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