Nine Yemenis deported from the United States in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban were flown to Ethiopia, then taken to neighboring Djibouti, an Ethiopian government official said on Friday.
The Yemenis, blocked by Trump’s executive orders barring travel to America by people from Yemen and six other Muslim-majority countries, had asked to go to Djibouti – just over the Red Sea from their home country – the official added.
“The only reason they came to Addis Ababa was because Ethiopian Airlines has flights from Addis Ababa to Washington,” government spokesman Negeri Lencho said, without going into details on when they traveled.
At the shortest point, Djibouti and Yemen lie about 30 km (20 miles) apart at the southern mouth of the Red Sea.
Trump’s orders – that the White House says are necessary for national security – have triggered protests across the United States and beyond. Democratic attorneys general in several U.S. states have called them unconstitutional.
(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Andrew Heavens)