The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

April 28, 2014

Stowaway on flight desperate to see mother

SAN JOSE, Calif. — He was young, displaced and frustrated, and he wanted nothing more than to reunite with his mother in their native Africa.

The 15-year-old Somali boy had been arguing at home, and in the kind of impulsive move that teenagers make, he hopped a fence at San Jose Inter-national Airport last week and clambered into a wheel well of a Hawaii-bound jetliner.

He survived the trip, and he has not spoken publicly about the ordeal.

But his desperation and frustration — borne from a life in a new country and new culture, all of it without his mother — is becoming apparent through interviews with friends, family and law enforcement agents.

The boy is “struggling adjusting to life in this country,” his father, Abdulahi Yusuf, said in a statement  through the Council on American-Islamic Rela-tions’ San Francisco Bay Area chapter.

The father said he plans to fly to Hawaii soon to reunite with his son and is “excited to bring him back home to his family in California.” He said the family was “deeply concerned” when the boy went missing and was relieved to hear he was safe.

A United Nations official told The Associated Press that the boy’s mother, 33, lives at the Sheder Refugee Camp in Ethiopia.

Speaking with Voice of America radio from a refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia, the teen’s mother, Ubah Mohamed Abdullahi, said her son had recently learned that she was alive after being told by his father she had died.

“I know he was looking for me, and I am requesting the U.S. government to help me reunite with my kids,” she told VOA. She said her ex-husband took their three children to California without her knowledge, and that she hadn’t heard from them since 2006.

The 15-year-old Somali boy has remained hospitalized in Hawaii.

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