ETHIOPIA: Abdirizak Mohamed Mohamoud, "Even if I got a visa for Europe.I
JIJIGA, 22 November 2011 (IRIN) - Abdirizak Mohamed Mohamoud, 30, returned
to his home village of Lafaisa, in the Jijiga zone of eastern Ethiopia, six
months ago, after his attempt to reach Europe and a better life turned into
an ordeal. He talked to IRIN, as well as a roomful of curious neighbours and
friends, about his experiences as a migrant in Libya.
"I wasn't satisfied with life here. I was a teacher, but I wasn't earning
enough to support my family. I had friends who had gone to Libya and then to
Italy, but I only got as far as Libya.
"I crossed the border of Ethiopia into Sudan; then I crossed the Sahara in a
lorry with 160 other people. All of the others were from Somalia - I was the
only Ethiopian. One lorry broke down, then another came and took us the rest
of the way.
"I paid the driver US$1,000 - money I got from all of my family and friends
- but when we arrived in Libya, the driver wanted another $1,200 and held
all of us hostage in his home on a big farm for two days.
"He gave me a cell phone and told me to call my family to get the money. He
only got money from 10 individuals, even though he tortured us with electric
shocks. I told my mother to send money but before it came, the Libyan police
came and arrested all of us, including the driver.
"We were taken to a prison in Benghazi where there were about 900 Africans -
Nigerians, Somalis, Eritreans and Congolese. After three months we thought
we were going to die there. Some were tortured and some tried to kill
themselves. We broke out by force, overwhelming the guards, and escaped, but
some local people caught me and returned me to the jail. I spent one more
month there before they transferred me to a Tripoli prison, where I spent
"Then they transferred me again to a place called Katron, near the border
with Niger, in the Sahara. I was there for a month with 320 Somali people
before we escaped again. I found some people from Chad in Katron and stayed
with them for 15 days and called my family to send money. My brother sent
$300 to someone he knows in Tripoli, but that money paid only for me to be
smuggled from Katron to Tripoli.
"I worked as a porter in Tripoli for 18 months, just to save money to get
home. I couldn't sleep at night because I was so afraid of being robbed; the
only safe place to sleep was on graves. I managed to save $700 and pooled my
savings with 14 friends to pay a smuggler to take us through Niger and into
Chad. We left just before the uprising [in Libya] started.
"In Chad, people were dying of hunger and UNHCR [the UN Refugee Agency]
refused to help us because they were busy helping the local people who were
starving. We went on to Darfur in Sudan and UNHCR flew us to Khartoum and
then to the Ethiopian border. I was very happy to get home after two years
and two months.
"By the time I got back, one of my sisters had already left for Saudi
[Arabia] to work as a housemaid. If I had got back in time, I would have
told her not to go.
"I'm an example for my village - if I had succeeded, all the others would
have gone. I don't have a job now, I'm surviving by Allah, but even if I got
a visa for Europe or the United States, I wouldn't go - I'm dying here."
------------[ Sent via the dehai-wn mailing list by dehai.org]--------------
Received on Tue Nov 22 2011 - 08:05:14 EST