Returning migrants in Côte d'Ivoire: Ibrahim recalls the Libyan hell
March 20, 2019
Credits: Abdullah DOMA/AFP
In his small roadside sewing shop in Daloa, Ibrahim Doumbia remembers how dreaming of Europe has turned into a nightmare, starting from the desert in Niger. "You know, people talk a lot about the sea, the sea. But where people remain a lot is in the desert. The desert is a cemetery, he says. If someone runs out of water, you can not give it to him. Moreover, the man driving the pick-up often wants to lay with migrant women and they cannot refuse because otherwise we would be all left in the desert."
In Libya, the hell continues. First in Bani Walid. Captivity, forced labor, beatings, rape for women. Then an escape. Arrived in Tripoli, he tries to cross to Italy with dozens more, on two makeshift boats. "There was the storm. It was not easy. There were too many waves. Then, the boat started to sink. We had to move to the other side. We saw some of us drowning and die in the sea."
Nine months in a migrant camp, it was like a prison.
After being brought back, he ended up in a migrant detention camp. "I stayed in this prison for nine months. Every day we were seeing our brothers dying. Often, around three o'clock in the morning, they used to come and beat everyone. Everyone was trying to call his parents to receive money to pay for their freedom."
Repatriated two years ago, Ibrahim is a survivor. Haunted every night by the images of this dramatic adventure, he feels lucky to have escaped. Today, he tries to dissuade candidates from leaving.
Read more: RFI