Mother of stowaway Somali teen fears for life
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The mother of an ethnic Somali teenager who stowed away on a plane from California to Hawaii has left a refugee camp in Ethiopia because of what she says are death threats against her.
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.
“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. The teen stowed away in the wheel well of a jetliner during a 5 1/2-hour flight to Hawaii. Abdule believes her boy was trying to get to Somalia to see her.
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. The spokeswoman, Zahra Billoo with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the family is firm in wanting to maintain their privacy.
Associated Press reporter Martha Mendoza in San Jose, California contributed to this report.