Ahmed, who owned a shop in Buhodle in Somaliland’sTogdheer region, early last year, said he spent $10,000 and wasted the better part of a year on a trip that was brutal and demoralizing.
Narrating his experiences to Radio Ergo, he said the human traffickers who were arranging his passage to Europe operated across borders between Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya. Once in their hands, he and other migrants had to walk for long hours avoiding authorities to cross national borders at night.
The worst treatment was meted out by the Libyan armed groups, nicknamed in Somalia ‘magafe’, meaning people you cannot escape.
“They treated us inhumanely. If one person disobeyed them, they used to punish all of us. They never gave us enough food to eat and on top of that, we were tortured and threatened,” Ahmed said.
“The captor will tell you not to talk and when he gets angry, he will hit you with whatever he has at hand at that time. Some of us were subjected to electric shock punishment; others were beaten with metal bars.”
Ahmed-Noor ended up paying $4,900 to the Libyan traffickers in order to be freed to continue his journey to Europe.
“If I had known what problems and people I would encounter migrating, I would never have left my country,” he told Radio Ergo, in an interview conducted on an internet call.
The smugglers he was handed to for the Mediterranean crossing beat him until he was unconscious when he tried to force his way onto a crowded boat. He had paid $2,000 for the sea passage. He was later allowed to board another boat packed with around 400 Somalis and Ethiopians.
“Before the boat set off, I regretted and said to myself oh God, I have messed up my life, who can take me back to my country!” he said.
Ahmed warned that Europe “does not deserve all the sacrifices” and he advised anyone making similar plans to stay at home.