Saturday September 12, 2015

Swimming to freedom: the incredible story of Yahya Samatar

Yahya Samatar swam his way towards freedom in Canada.

Yahya Samatar swam his way towards freedom in Canada. (CBC)

Listen to Full Episode 52:38

How far would you go for freedom? As the refugee crisis continues to grip the world's attention, DNTO is dedicating our first episode of the season to one man's harrowing journey from Somalia to the banks of Manitoba's Red River. 

As a human rights worker, Yahya Samatar faced persecution by al-Shabaab, a militant group linked to al-Qaeda. Fearing for his life, Samatar left his family behind and paid smugglers to take him to the United States - starting a terrifying year-long ordeal. When he made it to American soil, he spent six months in a detention centre. 

Denied refugee status, Yahya made his way north to the Canada-U.S. border. 

"The only option I had was to cross the river. There's not any other way I can come to Canada." 

Listen, watch and follow along with DNTO's season premiere Saturday September 12, at 3:05 p.m. on CBC Radio One.

stories from this episode