Somalia + 1 more

Yemen extends registration for Somali refugees

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SANAA, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Interior Ministry on Sunday gave Somali refugees an extension of two months to register with the National Commission for Refugees amid fears that al-Qaida infiltrators could be among them.

The ministry said in a statement posted on its website that it will take legal action against those who does not register after the extension period in accordance with Yemeni laws and international conventions.

According to the statement, the ministry acknowledged that Yemen's open-door policy towards illegal immigration is posing serious risks for its security and economic situations, stressing the need to repatriate them.

Also on Sunday, Yemeni security authorities said they arrested 43 illegal African infiltrators last week upon their arrival at Taizziah and Salef districts on Yemen's Red Sea coasts.

Though Yemen has long welcomed Somali refugees fleeing their war-torn country, the Yemeni government is now particularly concerned that al-Qaida infiltrators could be among those new arrivals, local media said.

According to statistics by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the number of Somali refugees in Yemen has reached some 78,000 by the end of 2009, compared with around 49,000 three years ago.

Editor: Mu Xuequan