Number of African Migrants Entering Yemen Declines

Sheba Intelligence | 2023-10-09 04:24 PM UTC


Only 1,551 African migrants entered Yemen in September, a decrease of 63% since August when 4,176 migrants arrived in Yemen, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said. 


The African migrants enter Yemen through Lahj and Shabwa coasts. While the 2,249 migrants arrived in Lahj in August, only 548 migrants arrived in September, according to the IOM. The decrease is 76%.

Migrants arriving in Shabwah have also decreased by 48%. In August, 1,927 migrants arrived in Shabwah, and the number declined to 1,003 in September. 


For decades, migrants from African countries, including Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia, constantly have crossed into Yemen, seeking to travel to gulf countries for better jobs and income. 


However, this decline in African arrivals in Yemen is attributed to some factors. Since the start of August, authorities in Lahj launched a campaign targeting the properties of smugglers besides arresting those who work in transporting migrants from Ethiopia to Yemen, according to IOM.  The campaign is still ongoing in Lahj province, which used to receive a high number of migrants from Djibouti in previous months. 


Over the past months, the decrease in migrants arriving in Yemen has been documented. In June 2023, 10800 African migrants arrived, and the number decreased to 9500 in July. 


The continued influx of African migrants to war-ravaged Yemen has posed serious troubles for the country as the warring sides employ some migrants for military purposes. 

Last year, reports revealed that the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group began recruiting African migrants and refugees, sending them to battlefields to fight their opponents, particularly in the central province of Marib.


Late last month, the Ansar Allah Houthi group conducted days-long naval training in Al-Luhyiah of Hodeida province, and some African fishermen attended the training, informed sources told Sheba Intelligence. The sources indicated that the training focused on the mechanism of ship piracy, the use of sea mines, kidnappings, and weapons smuggling.

According to the sources, the African fishermen will be responsible for logistical support to the Houthi group, especially in transferring weapons from large ships in the middle of the sea to small vessels and storing them on islands or nearby coasts.