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What happened to little Sophia?

Little Sophia (Credit: Rheinische Post)
A happy little girl, named Sophia, born in the middle of the Mediterranean, on a German ship (Credit: Rheinische Post)

(B2) Born on August 24, 2015 aboard the “Schleswig-Holstein”, her first name, Sophia, became the nickname of the European operation off the Libyan coast (EUNAVFOR MED). 

Today, the little girl, almost seven months old, lives in a small apartment in Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr area, with her mother, Rahma Abukar Ali. A journalist from Rheinische Post met them.

For Rahma, aged 33, these five months to the Mediterranean coast road were a real ordeal. The interview with the German journalist Helmut Michelis allows us to better understand his motivations.

Already the mother of seven children, she left them in the care of the grandmother. " An act of desperation she confides. " My husband separated from me. Mogadishu has become dangerous. Attacks are increasing. My mother told me: “You have no future here” ". The whole family then chipped in to find him the money he needed along the way. “ An aunt gave 200 Euros, another relative 100 Euros »… Between 8000-10.000 euros were collected, the cost of a passage across the African continent to Europe. And she left… towards Europe “ I just wanted a safe country in Europe. Germany, I didn't even think about it ". As for the first name of his daughter, it is very close (at least phonetically) to “Saffiya”, a traditional girl’s name in Somalia. And she can be relatively proud of the birth certificate. At the mention “place of birth”, it is indicated as follows: “ frigate Schleswig-Holstein, position 37° north latitude and 16°27' east longitude ". Rather original!


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).