Somalia Return and Displacement Series: Ahmed’s Story

Ahmed Abdullah is one of several hundreds of Somali refugees in Yemen that returned to Somalia when the war broke in Yemen.

The 27-year-old returned first to Bossaso before embarking on secondary migration to Mogadishu. He speaks of how grateful he felt when he first arrived in Somalia, and to have escaped the war and the traumatic experience he endured whilst trying to flee. He details the worsening conditions of safety and security, of attaining basic livelihoods and finds Yemen to be less safe than Somalia at this time.

In addition to feeling grateful to have arrived safely, his return to Somalia also brought a sense of homecoming. Ahmed was born and raised in Mogadishu and only left 12 years ago. He fell in love and married a Yemeni woman with whom he has two children, a 7 years old boy and a 5 years old girl. But the growing insecurity in Yemen over the years also put a strain on their marriage, and Ahmed and his wife became estranged. His wife and children remained in Yemen whilst he returned to Somalia.

He’s lost touch with his family and relatives as they didn’t agree with his marriage. With that, he lost the benefits of having a social network consisting of family members and extended kin, which would’ve been helpful for his return to Somalia. He’s also noticed a change in clan dynamics and he perceives that the collective sense of duty, of clan members helping each other has declined. Ahmed‚Äôs life mission now is to reconcile with his estranged wife so that he can be reunited with her and his children.

Since his arrival in Mogadishu, he’s been living in one of the camps in Kaaraan district. He’s struggling to find employment and job training. He survives with financial assistance he receives from IOM and local NGOs. Ahmed struggles to identify with the city of his birth and the harshness that comes with surviving in it. But he’s hopeful of what the future holds.

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