SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — The family of the 15 year old who breached security at Mineta San Jose International Airport and stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet says he has run away before and was not trying to get to Africa or see his birth mother, despite reports to the contrary.
In an exclusive interview with KPIX 5’s Betty Yu, the sister, brother, and stepmother of Yahya Abdi say they broke their media silence to set the record straight.
They claim 15-year-old Yahya Abdi’s birth mother, Ubah Abdullahi, was not the reason he got on the airplane. Although Abdi had talked of seeing his grandparents in Africa, he had no plan to go there when he climbed the airport fence and hid on the 767 bound for Maui.
Yassir Abdi, the brother of the teen talked about the destination.
Betty: Do you think your brother wanted to go to Africa this time?
Yassir: (Shakes head to indicate ‘no’)
Betty: Why not?
Yassir: He was out of his mind I guess. He never done something like that before.
Betty: Do you think it was just a bad decision?
Yassir: uh hmm (yes).
Najma Abdi, Yahya’s sister wanted to speak with KPIX 5 to clarify some things about their birth mother.
Betty: How do you feel about your real mom saying those things about your step mom?
Najma: I can’t believe what’s she’s doing, she’s making up lying, and she’s saying my dad he abuse me, he took away from my kids, she’s lying. He never do that, my dad.
Yahya and his siblings moved to the U.S. five years ago from Ethiopia, and was having difficulty adjusting to life in the States.
Betty: You think he’s just being a typical teenager?
Stepmother: Yeah, yeah because the teenager you know United States, difficult. When you say, go to school, do your homework.
The kids say their mom left them when they were young, and only wants to reunite with them now to get out of a refugee camp.
Yassir: We already have a good family here, and we don’t — we lover her — but she left us when we needed her the most so we don’t want her.