‘In Libya, We Were all Eritreans,’ Recounts Ethiopian Survivor and Journalist

News Politics
In Libya, we Ethiopians call ourselves Eritreans to get accepted to European asylum system
Mainstream media keep referring African migrants as Eritrean migrants. Honest mistakes or ?


Henok Alemayehu, founder and editor of Ethiopian newspaper “Zehabesha “, today wrote on his blog what Eritreans have been telling time and again about the rise of ‘Ethiopian migrants’ disguised as Eritrean.

Alemayehu, in his eyewitness account from inside Libyan prison cells while he was one of the thousands of ‘African Migrants‘ who dares to cross the Sinai and Mediterranean just to reach Europe, said he totally don’t believe recent media reports of an “All Eritrean” deaths from a disaster that just happened off the Southern Italian Island of Lampedusa.

While recalling his own personal experience as an ‘Ethiopian Migrant‘ in Libya, Alemayehu recounts that many African migrants, especially those from Ethiopia, would like to assume the Eritrean identity in the hope for easing their asylum application process.

“Once the traffickers drop you off in Libya [after being smuggled through the Sahara desert] they tell you to insist as Eritrean to avoid forceful return back to Ethiopia”, recalls Henok.

He also wrote that there were dozens of Ethiopian migrants detained with him in various prison cells inside Libya such as in Bengazi, Tripoli, Kufra, and Ajdabiya and the only reason he is alive today is because he remained detained in prison while those who claim “Eritrean” got out of jail, grabbing their temporary asylum paper, and took the next available boat to cross the Mediterranean, ultimately cut their long and perilous journey to Europe short with tragedy.

“Therefore,” he said concluding his truth-to-be-told account, “what I believe is that there must have been so many Ethiopians among the victims of the Lampedusa tragedy and simply putting them as an “all Eritrean” victims was not true and appropriate.”

Here is another interview made by an Ethiopian journalist named Kinfu Assefa with one of the Ethiopian survivors narrating his ordeal and the loss of many Ethiopian friends in the Lampedusa migrant boat incident.

... I have lost many of my Ethiopian friends in the Lampedusa disaster
… I have lost many of my Ethiopian friends in the Lampedusa disaster

Below is what he has posted on his website today about the above story and to retain its originality, I posted it on an image format. Click here to read it direct from the source.

"In Libya prison and refugee camps, We are all Eritreans" - Ethiopian migrant and survivor
“In Libya prison and refugee camps, We were all Eritreans” – Ethiopian migrant and survivor Journalist Henok Alemayehu

(Last updated on 08 Sep 2013)
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