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Rahel’s journey from Ethiopia to Libya

I stayed in a camp for five months before I decided to take the journey. I discovered that there are two routes from the camp. The first one through Humera and the second is through Metema.  Most people use the route through Humera because there is a direct way from the camp. Going through the Metema route would require first going to Addis Ababa. For safety, the Metema route is better because you will not find Tekeze River and the Reshaiydas. The Humera route is very dangerous because when crossing the river they use jerry cans to cross the river. One of the smuggler would push the jerry cans and you might find crocodiles. I came through Metema which was relatively better. We met some Sudanese when we reached in the boarder [Sudan]. They wore military cloths so I am not sure if they were police or not. They were talking with the smugglers. They demanded money and we got released after the smugglers paid them. But through the Humera route the Rashaida might shoot at you. It is quite tough.

I started my journey to Libya after I arrived Sudan. When we left Sudan we were stopped by Sudanese authority. They searched every part of our body and took our belongings including our jewelries. They pushed us from the truck and searched our belongings. In addition to this, they asked the driver to pay for us to continue our journey. We encounter other bandits in the middle of the desert. The manner in which they searched us was the worst. They were ten of them and searched every part of our bodies, even if you are on period they will search you.  Later the journey got better. But the trucks got stuck in the sand and the men were being beaten. On the fourth day we reached Benghazi. From there it is up to how fast you can transfer money. But if there is delay, they (traffickers) will lock you in a container. They tortured others using gasoline and harsh beatings. It is a really harsh condition.

In our surroundings those who couldn’t pay were made to work for free as cooks to the rest of the migrants. If it is women she would be the boss’s. You might get released after working for about seven months. Since my money was transferred fast, I went to a city called Tripoli by a truck. There we were locked in a store. We were around 130 people in one truck. To save space they threw all our belongings. Since there were Somalis with us, a fight ensued.  We were then transferred to a smaller truck and continued our journey with thirty people in one truck. We arrived safely to Tripoli. Since we traveled through cities our journey was relatively better.  But it was difficult for those who came through the desert. Some were behead while others kidnapped.

We were then taken to the sea shore after transferring more money.  We were around eight hundred people and kept in an unhygienic place. Sometimes we slept outside where it was very cold. We only had one toilet, both for men and women. We got diarrhea and skin problems. The water was not enough. The men were beaten with metal and shovel.

The food was not too bad despite the terrible conditions. You could get kidnapped and asked to pay a second time. Those who have been kidnapped have told us that some are imprisoned and tortured. The boats on the other hand are not safe, because they are old and can leak easily.

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