Over the past three weeks, 57 of the returnees have required medical assistance. “We were on board a truck which was taking us to the Saudi border when gunmen started shooting at us. Several of us were shot and two men were killed. The truck had to stop and we were captured by armed men,” said Alemat Fitsum, an 18-year-old returnee, who was shot in the arm.
IOM organized his return to Ethiopia and referred him to an Ethiopian hospital. Other returnees included migrants suffering burns, gunshot wounds and broken bones – some of them due to the conflict, others inflicted by traffickers, who tortured them to extort ransoms from their families.
Another returnee, Kasim Yesuf, 20, from the Northern Ethiopian province of Wollo, said that his family paid smugglers everything they had to send him to Yemen. But in Yemen he was captured by traffickers, beaten and told to call his family and ask for 5,000 (Saudi) Riyals (USD 1,333) in ransom money.