Yemenis fleeing violence in their country seek refuge in Somalia

Dozens of Yemeni refugees fleeing the Saudi-led airstrikes against Shiite rebels in the country have arrived in the northern parts of Somalia, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

At least 32 Yemenis arrived by sea in the breakaway Somaliland region and the neighboring Puntland on Saturday, according to the U.N.

Omar Abokor, deputy manager of the Berbera port in Somaliland, said Tuesday that about 12 Yemeni families from Yemeni’s third largest city of Taiz arrived at the port. The Saudis and other Gulf countries had carried out airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Taiz.

In the past, Somalis feeling the unrest in their country sought refuge in Yemen, which currently hosts more than 238,000 Somali refugees, according to the U.N. 

Concerns were being raised in Somalia over a potential backlash against Somali refugees in Yemen after the Somali government publicly expressed support for the Saudi-led air strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In a statement released on Friday, the Somali government said it will “support the steps that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz” and “its allies have taken, which are aimed at preventing Yemen from slipping into a civil war and an unstable period whose stretch is unknown.”

It also added that Somalia will “support Yemen in its war against the terrorist organizations, which aim to disrupt its security, peace and stability. Somalia is ready to contribute expertise” to counter these groups.

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