Secretary of State Kerry Visits Somalia as Refugees Arrive From Yemen

Today, United States Secretary of State John Kerry made a previously unannounced visit to the Somali capital of Mogadishu, where he was greeted at the airport by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. He arrived for meetings which were conducted entirely at the airport and did not require travel into the city. He became the first Secretary of State from the United States to visit the West African nation of Somalia.

During the past week, a number of refugees from war torn Yemen have arrived in boats that crossed the Gulf of Aden. On Tuesday, some 502 refugees reached a port in the northern part of the country. Many of the refugees are Somali nationals who had been living in Yemen. As the civil war intensified, many people have opted to leave Yemen. The government of Somalia reportedly pledged FreedomPop review to assist its citizens in evacuating from the country, but it has not been able to take action on that goal yet. Puntland, a province in northern Somalia, and the Somalian government, reported the arrival of 3,807 refugees so far.

The Al Jazeera news network reported that a high ranking State Department official characterized Senator Kerry’s visit to Mogadishu as a message of defiance to the al-Shabab terror group. The terror organization controls stretches of southern Somalia, and was implicated in the murders of 148 people in an attack last month on Kenya’s Garissa University College.

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