"Smugglers called it a sacrifice": a Guinean migrant recalls his tragic experience in Libya
October 30, 2018
Credits: Iamamigrant Project
“My brother came back to Guinea after spending one year in Italy, and bought himself a branded car. I wanted the life he had. I got a passport and applied for a visa, but things didn't work out as planned so I had to find another way to get to Europe. When I left home, I had no idea what the route ahead of me would be like.
Once in Bamako, smugglers locked me and my fellow travellers up for two weeks with no food. If your parents refused to send money, they would beat you up. After they released us, we continued our journey. We walked for three days straight without food or water, with no houses or villages in sight. Five people died, including a friend of mine. He couldn’t walk anymore so I put him on my shoulder and walked some more. At some point, I stopped, I cried and left him there.
We managed to get to Libya by bus and spent two weeks in Tripoli waiting to get on the boat to Italy. It was 4am on the day the smugglers loaded 300 people onto the boat. One of the passengers was designated as captain and taught how to navigate in a matter of minutes. There were so many clouds when we left, the wind was blowing and people were shaking. Many fell into the water as we were boarding - the smugglers called it a sacrifice."
Read more: I am a migrant