Kenya: IOM decries mistreatment of Ethiopian, Somalia migrants in Libya

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is deeply worried over the plight of approximately 260 Somali and Ethiopian migrants and refugees, including many children, held captive by smugglers and/or criminal gangs in Libya.

The UN migration agency said Thursday that in a video posted on Facebook on 9 June, hundreds of emaciated and abused Somalis and Ethiopians are seen huddled fearfully in a concrete room. Other nationalities may also be present.

Speaking on video to a Somali journalist based in Turkey (who recorded the call he received from the criminal gang), the migrants and refugees, who are sitting on the floor in a crowded space, said they have been beaten and tortured.

Some reports that their teeth have been removed, their arms broken and that none of them have been given any food.

They explained that women have been put in different cells, where they are afraid that they are being further abused both sexually and physically.

Parents and other relatives of the captive migrants and refugees are also receiving short video clips via social media, where they are being asked to pay between US$ 8,000–10,000 or their child or relative will be killed, the agency said in a press statement.

Some of the individuals in the videos have been missing for up to six years according to their families in Somalia. The exact location where they are being held is not yet known.

“I have been here one year. I am beaten every day. I swear I do not eat food. My body is bruised from beating,” said one of the captives in the video.

“If you have seen the life here you wouldn’t stay this world any more. I didn't eat the last four days but the biggest problem is the beating here. They don’t want to release me.”

Throughout the video, there are exchanges between the journalist and the person moderating on site in Libya.

In one instance, he introduced the journalist to a young visibly starving man with a large concrete block weighing down on his back, as punishment for his family not paying his ransom.

“I was asked for US$ 8,000,” said the young man, when asked by the journalist why the criminal gang were punishing him. “They broke my teeth. They broke my hand. I have been here 11 months… This stone has been put on me for the last three days. It’s really painful.”

The UN agency cited many other disturbing testimonies by the victims.
-0- PANA DJ/VAO 15June2017

15 june 2017 15:49:50

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