“The journey was very tedious and dangerous, and the seas were rough and the desert very hot and dry. I and the others walked for miles for over ten days. We ran out of water and lost four of our colleagues in the desert,” these were the words of Mohamed Lukuley, one of the returnees.
He added that as an unemployed young man he decided to venture on the difficult journey to Italy, through Africa. He claimed that he paid $2,000 to an agent who later abandoned them and as a result they were left on their own to find their way to Europe. “Unfortunately, out of 150 in number only three managed to cross over and the rest of us found ourselves in various parts of Libya where we were treated inhumanely, tortured, beaten and imprisoned with very little food to survive. I had to send home for money for my release from Ali Ghetto the man-in-charge of the hostage prison, and it cost me $1,100 and those who could not afford it had to endure harsher conditions,” Mohamed Lukuley said.
Adama Bah is a member of the ANIM and was part of the group of migrants who never made it to Europe. She had the opportunity to see how other women and children suffer and languish after they were captured at sea and held hostage in prison, were she was also held.
She remembers: “We were over 400 in number and held in an enclosed space, not enough for all of us, and with little ventilation. We had only two toilets and one shower room; also used as delivery space for pregnant migrants. The burden of taking care of orphans was also our responsibility and we all had to survive on a small bowl of pasta and a piece of bread for the whole day.”
She used the opportunity to caution others who are unemployed to desist and not embark on ‘temple run’ as a result of their situation, but rather to use the ANIM as a means to access livelihood skills, that will make them self reliant and productive.