A project run by the UK charity Release Eritrea, working with victims of trafficking in Egypt yesterday received request for assistance from five Eritreans between the ages of 16 and 25 who say they were caught up in the recent incidences of fights between Eritreans and Sudanese in the vicinity of Shegerab Refugee Camp. 

The refugees were in Shegerab Refugee Camp in Sudan during the recent crisis of the fight between the refugees and the traffickers. They left the camp and hid outside the camp. However, the next day suddenly Bedouins appeared where they were hiding and forced them into a small truck. They put a lot of blankets on top of the victims and then sat on them so that no one would notice the kidnapping. They began their journey to the desert like this.

After two days, they reached the Nile River and crossed it in a boat, then were transferred to other traffickers' van in which there were already some victims. They entered a town and were kept in a house. They did not know the exact place where they were held but project workers believe this to be around Aswan, from their description provided.

There traffickers demanded that each of them pay $10,000 USD. If the victims paid, they were promised that they would be put on a boat to reach Italy. The trafficking victims made it clear that neither they nor their families had any money to pay them. Two days later, the traffickers brought them to Cairo and held them in a house as they did in Aswan.

After one day, the guys escaped from the flat while their captors were asleep. Then they went out to the street and eventually found a taxi. The driver very kindly allowed them to use his phone so they could call one Eritrean they knew the phone number for in Cairo. That contact told the taxi where to go and they were brought to Ardelewa place in Mohandessine. There they met other Eritrean refugees who contacted Release Eritrea staff  and brought them to one of the project’s safe houses.

They are registered with the UNHCR and their medical needs will be looked into very shortly. Release Eritrea Staff in Cairo have their names and details and are willing to assist concerned family members with contact.

Please contact Dr Berhane Asmelash on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +44 793 155 4136