Ahmed Hasasi, a form four student at Gambol Secondary School in Garowe, made two attempts to embark on a journey to Europe between 20 December last year and 6 January 2015. Without papers, he was stopped twice by officials at Wajale on the Somaliland-Ethiopia border and sent back home.
Ahmed is one of an apparently rising number of school students bitten by the migration bug. Most say they face unemployment and few opportunities if they stay at home and dream of a better life on another continent.
“The lucky ones who reached Europe call their friends and relatives back home and encourage us to migrate, saying there are many opportunities and life is better in Europe than at home,” he said.
The director of Puntland’s ministry of youth and sports, Ahmed Abdalla Tigane, told Radio Ergo that many students pack up to leave during the school holidays.
He said unemployment was clearly not the main factor as these students were too young to be in the job market.
The administration was attempting to curb the exodus by ordering the security forces to capture any young men or women found to be attempting to migrate.
Mukhtar Ali Mursal, deputy administrator of Nugal High School in Garowe, said four of his students had already disappeared this year.
He blamed education authorities and parents for a passive attitude.
“They didn’t come up with any plans and programmes that would stop youths from engaging in dangerous trips during the holiday period,” he said.
Puntland’s ministries of education and youth have no exact data but estimate that as many as 15 per cent of high school students have left or are planning to migrate.