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50 Southern Cameroonians Among 250 Returnees From Libya








It has now been established that of the over 250 Cameroonians returnees from Libya on Tuesday November 21 2017, fifty of them are from Southern Cameroons. According to the Chief of Mission from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Seybou Boubacar, the 50 Southern Cameroonians comprised of 40 men and 9 women and a child. He indicated that three women were heavily pregnant when they arrived Cameroon.

The psycho-emotionally petrified men and women in their quest to seek greener pasture in Europe, attempted to use Libya as a transit point. Unfortunately, they fell in the wrong zone of the largely stateless country and underwent excruciating torments from some barbarians.

Returnees being received

The visibly exhausted men and women narrated their bitter tales conjugated in horror, pain and suffering. They told of how they have been sexually, emotionally and even physically abused while they were jailed by unknown men in Libya.

According to Berinyuy Immaculate, a six month old pregnant woman, she was raped on several occasions, sold like vegetables, and lived in all sought of deplorable condition.

“I was tortured and raped,” she murmurs in tears, “I wanted to go to Italy but I fell into the most horrible trap. In Libya, we were sold like vegetables, we were raped like whores. In 2015, I passed through Ekok to Nigeria, then Niger. I was kidnapped in the Nigerian desert by some six men who stripped off my clothes, my two cell phones and and my 925,000 CFA francs (1,406 euros). While in abduction, I successfully crossed into the Libyan town of Sebha. There I was jailed alongside, 300 other migrants.”

Like Immaculate, Ebai Tokoh Richard shared a similar tale of misery hardship and depression.

“I was beaten, raped in turn by my jailers and tortured. They told me: “To liberate you, you need money. Call your family. “When my brother heard my tears, he sold his bike to send them 500,000 CFA (760 euros),” says the young woman. I was released the next morning, but arrested in the evening by some soldiers who told me I was safe and will return home. Unfortunately, I found myself in the hands of another group of kidnappers. They transferred me to Sabratha, a town west of Tripoli, the capital of Libya. Then I was sold for 1,000 euros to a family,” Richard Tokoh painfully narrated.

Another man, Ndelle Solomon Eko, said he was imprisoned and raped by some unknown men. Fortunate for him, his family back in Cameroon successfully paid a ransom to his abductors who intern, free him in August. Since then, he has been living a nomadic life until he successfully got in contact with IOM.

“I spent four months in an unknown prison in Tripoli. I was served bread and spaghetti half cooked. I drank salt water. I did weeks without stool. I thought I was going to die. I was forced to call my family back home for them to raise a ransom so I could be freed. My mother brought the family together, everyone contributed. We paid the ransom. I left prison in August, 2017 and I left for a desert in Tripoli where I lived a nomadic life until my return,” Ndelle Solomon narrated.

Returnees sharing their ordeals

On November 14, the American television channel CNN broadcast images of a slave market in Libya where sub-Saharan migrants were sold, provoking a public outcry in Africa and beyond. According to Roger Charles Evina, head of the programme of Protection and reintegration of migrants returning to Cameroon at the IOM, about 1,700 Cameroonian migrants are in Libya. He indicated the programme will progressively repatriate the rest of Cameroonians still in Libya.

Meantime, Charles Evina indicated that the programme has sought new means of reintegrating the returnees taking into consideration their psychology.

“When they arrive, we registered their details and asked them what pushed them to leave. Then we find out what they would like to do in Cameroon. It is based on their response that we offer subsidies to start activities. The amounts vary between F CFA 500,000 CFA and F CFA 1,000,000 CFA,” he said.

The International Organisation for Migration is European Union funded project. It is aimed at promoting the voluntary return of Migrants across Africa who are held in Libya. Its general goal is to abort the illegal migration into Europe especially using Libya as a transit.

By Lucas Muma,

Managing Editor – BaretaNews

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