News / Africa

New US Airline Security Measures Scare Africans

Nico Colombant

Nigerians and Somalis are expressing concerns about the U.S. government's new worldwide air travel security demands. The new U.S. rules call for increased screening of passengers from 14 countries, including Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.  The request follows charges against a Nigerian man for allegedly trying to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day. 

Passengers in Lagos, Nigeria, were asked to report more than seven hours ahead of their direct flight (Monday) to Atlanta, in the south of the United States, creating very long lines.

The new rules follow a trip by Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who took a plane from Lagos to the Netherlands and then to the United States, when he allegedly tried to blow it up with explosives and a syringe he had brought on board.

A month earlier, his father had alerted U.S. authorities in Nigeria that his son, who had been studying in Yemen, was acting very erratically, and should be watched closely.

An activist for the Nigerian community in the United States, Ezi Mecha, says the worsening situation at airports for Nigerians is very unfortunate, given the warning that had been given.

"I am hoping that because the father had reported his behavior that the United States government would understand that it was a concern, so they would understand that it was not a behavior that should be attributed to the rest of the country," said Ezi Mecha.

A Nigerian university professor in Washington, Bolaji Aluko, says many people fear there may be others like Abdulmutallab, even though Nigerians have no history in international terrorism.

"We will be the victims of profiling for a while which may be a safe thing to do," said Bolaji Aluko. "The question will always be, does he have other associates in Nigeria. Are there other people like him where he comes from?"

Passengers from Somalia have also been put on a list requiring increased screening, angering Minnesota Somali community leader, Ismail Ali.

"Somalis right now they are saying, why are they doing this? Why are they investigating us?," asked Ismail Ali.

Ali is the founder of the Somali Elders Council of Central Minnesota.

"Those who are not doing anything, those who are innocent people, it is not good for us," he said. "We are afraid of this problem, if they are going to scan you, and they are going to make you naked during their scanning."

Ali believes having security lists based on countries is unfair.

"If you segregate the people, saying that he came from Africa, and we will say you guys who are coming from Asia, from Europe, from Germany, from Switzerland, we are [all from the] same basket," said Ali. "I will suggest that the government just has to control the wrongdoers."

Passengers from Sudan have also been added to this new list of enhanced security.

The list also includes passengers from Cuba, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
 

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs