Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Death Threats Force San Jose Stowaway’s Mom to Flee Ethiopian Refugee Camp

Fearing for her life: Ubah Mohammed Abdule, 33, has fled the Ethiopian refugee camp where she lives, claiming to have received threats. Her son made international headlines after climbing into the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airways plane and surviving the flight from San Jose to Maui    
The mother of the Somali teenager who stowed away on a plane from California to Hawaii has left a refugee camp in Ethiopia, saying that threats have been made against her life.

Ubah Mohammed Abdule was moved outside of the Shedder Refugee Camp in far eastern Ethiopia, near the border with Somalia, for safety reasons, said Abdlrasak Abas Omar, a legal protection officer at the camp.

He said that Abdule showed the camp administrators logs of anonymous calls she said were made by people threatening her with death.
Her 15-year-old son, Yahya Abdi - who ran away from his father's house in Santa Clara, California, on April 20, hopped a fence at Mineta San Jose International Airport and climbed into the wheel well of the closest plane, surving the 5 1/2-hour flight to Maui - is believed to have been trying to get home to see his mother.

'It's just a 600 meter (yard) evacuation because she felt vulnerable in the camp's makeshift homes,' said Omar.

'She's quite unstable now.'

Abdule has not seen her teenage son in eight years.

She told The Associated Press that the boy longed to see her, but couldn't because his father told him she was dead and didn't allow contact.

'I know he was looking for me, and I am requesting the U.S. government to help me reunite with my kids,' she has said.

Since her son's trip in April, Abdule says she has received threats from callers she believes are relatives of her former husband.

'They are going to kill me, so that his claims that I was dead will turn out to be true,' she told an Associated Press reporter by phone.
'I couldn't keep waiting for death to come, because the makeshift home was not a good safe haven.

'I was exposed to any attack.'

A family spokeswoman forwarded questions on Saturday from AP to father Abdilahi Yusuf, a Santa Clara, California, taxi driver, about the allegations of threats.
As with past requests, Yusuf has not responded.

He had previously said in a statement that his son was simply 'struggling adjusting to life' in America.

'Our situation was aggravated by our displacement in Africa for many years after fleeing our home country of Somalia because of war conditions,' the statement said.

'As a result, my son was not able to receive any formal education before we immigrated to the United States.'
The family was 'deeply concerned' when the boy went missing and was relieved to hear he was safe, Yusuf said.

The boy was hospitalized in Hawaii for two weeks, then flown back to California where he was placed in custody of Santa Clara County Child Protective Services.

Yusuf flew to Hawaii to get his son and said that he was 'excited to bring him back home to his family in California'.

A county spokesman said Monday he cannot disclose the boy's whereabouts.