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Mr. Abdihakim Salah Mohamed, an autistic Somali-Canadian youth who was like meanwhile famous Mrs. Suad Haji Mohamud also stuck in Kenya and was – in his case for nearly four years – completely abandoned by the Canadian Government, has arrived safely back home in Toronto on December 05 aboard a flight via the UK.

Actually his and the nightmare for his mother Mrs. Anap Issa, a Somali-Canadian who works as a janitor at Carleton University, began many years earlier, when she found herself overburdend with the care for her son, because neither would the Canadian government allow her husband to join and help her with the young man nor did she find in the Canadian social services any support - to the opposite, the Canadian care centers made the condition of her son only worse.

In early 2005 she therefore followed the advice of the Canadian psychologist of her son, who recommended that a change of living circumstances might help, and took him to Somalia, which was at that time recovering and peaceful, in order to stay with other youngster and in the care of his grandmother.

Passport robbed by government

Being his mother, she took his Canadian passport for safekeeping with her when she flew back to Canada, because she knew how easily it could get lost or stolen in Somalia. Upon arrival in Toronto her bags were thoroughly searched, her sons passport found and immediately confiscated for reasons unknown until today.

Up to now that passport has neither been returned to Mr. Abdihakim or his mother, who has the powers of attorney for her 25 year old son, nor was a new one issued to him. Despite written insurance already in 2006, stating that a new passport - even if the old one could not be retrieved from the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) - could be issued for Mr. Abdihakimwith with a validity of one year, no passport has been issued until to date.
When politics and turmoil got worse again in Somalia, Abdihakim's family and friends managed to Mrs. Anap's son into Kenya for security reasons, while his mom continued the struggle to get his travel documents necessary for his return to Canada.

Lawyers, Community Services, even MPs intervened - all fruit- and hopeless, because the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi simply refused to act. And there a name appears, which already became known in Mrs. Suad H. Mohamud's case: Mrs. Tracey Vansickle, who seems to hold a position as frustration and discouragement officer. Because the Canadian government first contended he was not who he claimed to be, and then refused to take the time to look into the matter to verify this supposition, Mr. Abdihakim's nightmare continued.

Push to end the nightmare

Only when Mrs. Suad H. Mohamud's case made global headlines and ECOTERRA Intl., who had also helped in her case, intervened in Nairobi, the Canadian authorities signalled surrender and Ottawa stated three month ago that Mr. Abdihakim would be travelling home soon - a promise which was not kept until now.
"Abdihakim is such a pleasant and gentle young man, that for us it is not understandable to that he was so severely mistreated by Canada. It is in our opinion clear abandonment and a crime to not have issued immediately to this teenager with special needs proper identification papers when he came out of Somalia and to thereby leave him for nearly four years exposed to the dangers of Kenya, which - though safer than Somalia - makes also headlines every day for police atrocities, murder and crime is outrageous," stated a social worker of the organization. "But this is Africa, where people also still help each other, especially when the authorities fail," she added.

The nightmare still continued. Instead of doing immediately the necessary and issue a passport straight away, the case went not without further humiliating interviews, dangerous travels to the Canadian High Commission, because the High Commissioner again refused to issue even a protection letter, and months of waiting. Appallingly, Mr. Abdihakim had to wait until an air-ticket was purchased and the case rectified also with Kenya Immigration until the last day of November 2009, when an "Emergency Travel Document For A Single Journey Only" was issued by the Consular Services of the Canadian High Commission in Kenya.

Canadian human rights lawyer Darren Thorne stated: "The stranded Canadians all appear to have been guilty of nothing other than simply being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. There is no evidence of malfeasance against any of them, and in the case of Suad Mohamud and Abdihakim Mohamed, it is clear that they ended up blacklisted solely due to the errors, if not outright incompetence, of Canadian officials abroad. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to matter when officials in Canada were later asked to investigate these matters."

For Mr. Abdihakim and his mother a nearly four year long nightmare of being separated and the autistic son stranded in a foreign land is over - but for things to improve a change of those in charge at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi and maybe even a change in the Canadian government seems necessary and long overdue.
© Ecoterra -

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