Banadir fishermen go missing as locals blame illegal foreign trawlers
Fadumo Nur Abdukadir, a 52 year mother, wakes up every morning and takes long walks along Hamar-Weyne coastline in Benadir region in search of her son, who has been missing for more than a month.
Fadumo’s son ,Abshir Muriidi Mahamed, was among a group of fishermen who went out to sea one day in April and did not come back. Their bodies have not been found. The suspicion is that they were abducted by foreign trawlers.
insideFadumo always returns to the place her son and his colleagues used to camp before they went out to sea and on their return.
“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, my family are all so worried,” said Fadumo. She has heard from fishermen in Lower Shabelle that her son was captured by men on foreign trawlers fishing illegally off the Somali coast.
Abshir, 20, was the eldest son in Fadumo’s family and the only one providing an income for the other seven family members. Fadumo’s husband has been bedridden for two years with tuberculosis of the spine. The family is getting some help from her two nephews, one of whom repairs car air conditioners while the other makes hand-sewn traditional clothing.
Abshir is one of 12 fishermen who went missing on 12 April. The men went out in four boats, four to each boat, according to Iman Abdukadir Suuf, one of the group.
Iman told Radio Ergo that his boat escaped and returned to the shore when they heard gunshots coming from a foreign ship. It was late at night when the ocean was calm. They were in Doolliyow area near Marka town in Lower Shabelle, from where they had set out to fish for sharks.
Iman said they have previously been attacked by men on board foreign boats trawling for fish off the Somali coast. He believes a foreign trawler abducted the other men in his group as part of a planned campaign to prevent information from spreading about their illegal activities.
Other fishermen are now so afraid of being attacked or kidnapped by foreign trawlers that they are confining themselves to the very shallow waters just off the shore.
The director of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Abdirisak Diriye Warsame, told Radio Ergo they have received an outcry of complaints from the local fishermen’s association. They have contacted neighbouring countries seeking information about the young fishermen but have got nothing back yet. The director confirmed that foreign vessels have been exploiting the fishing resources in the area for a long time.