Red Cross Family Tracing Helps Husband and Wife Live Again

With Red Cross help, Abdiaziz Warsame, 35, learned that his wife is alive after being abducted by militia six years ago in Mogadishu, Somalia. He now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his son. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

Abdiaziz Warsame has lived in Minneapolis for the past six years taking care of his son and anticipating a life without his wife, his son’s mother. That was until he reached out to the Red Cross and its family tracing services.

“I am really thankful to the Red Cross for the job they did for me and my family,” says Warsame. “I gave up until the Red Cross found her alive.”

Abducted by militia in Mogadishu, Somalia, there was little reason for Warsame to believe that his wife was anything but dead. He fled with his son to Cairo, Egypt, where he sought refuge with the United Nations. His son’s condition, which includes brain damage and some paralysis, prompted a quick departure for an operation in the United States.

“I will not forget how the Red Cross helped me find my wife and how the Americans have been good to us,” says Warsame.

Abdiaziz Warsame, 35, fled Mogadishu, Somalia, with his son Shamusdin, 10, who has brain damage and paralysis. Red Cross family tracing services helped find Warsame’s wife alive in Somalia. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

The Red Cross sent a message from Minneapolis to Washington D.C., to Geneva, Switzerland, and then to the Red Cross in Nairobi, Kenya. From there, the Somali Red Crescent conducted a field search and found Warsame’s wife, Ayan Mohamed, in Mogadishu. They returned a message in the opposite direction that the Red Cross delivered to Warsame in Minneapolis.

The message came with a phone card, which Warsame immediately used to call his wife who had no idea her husband was living in America. Now, Warsame talks on the phone with his wife every day.

“We married for love,” says Warsame. “These six years are like 60 years. For that reason we live when we talk to each other.”

Warsame wants to be reunited with his wife—who also survived a bullet wound with Red Cross medical services in Somalia. “My son always says ‘where’s my mom,’ but I am so happy,” says Warsame. “I have found her now and hope to bring her here.”

Learn more about Red Cross family tracing and international services. Story and photos by Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross, with assistance from Yahye Mohamed/American Red Cross. Posted February 22, 2012

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