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Road to Europe gets harder for migrants
August 20, 2017
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ON BOARD THE AQUARIUS: From the increasingly fraught trek through the Sahara to violence in Libya, asylum seekers rescued this week in the Mediterranean say the obstacles to reaching Europe are getting bigger.

 Jouma and Abdulhameed told AFP how they fled civil war and a humanitarian crisis that has ravaged South Sudan.

 Their fellow boat companions Saeed and Ghanim recounted a harrowing escape from police violence and poverty in Sudan.

 Saeed, a 28-year-old pharmacist, says he decided to leave following his third stint in a violent prison for his trade union activities.

 But he told his wife he was going to Egypt: “Libya is a dangerous place, I did not want to worry her,” he said.

 He and a friend travelled to Libya via Darfur on a route monitored more closely than before due to European pressure on migrant transit countries.

 “It’s hard to get through. There are the Janjaweed (pro-government militia accused of genocidal killings and atrocities), and the Sudanese government does not let you pass,” said 27-year old Abdoulhameed.

 He and Ghanim, 20, had to make a several-week detour through Chad, while Jouma, 39, went through Egypt.

 At each stage the men were forced to pay off local militia or risk being held captive as slaves in the desert.

 “I’ve seen many people get killed,” Jouma said.

 In Benghazi in Libya, Saeed ran into fundamentalists he was told belonged to the so-called Daesh.

Agence France-Presse
 

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