Egyptian authorities look the other way as Bedouin kidnap refugees

Torture_Eritreans

Horrific tales are emerging from Sinai of Bedouin gangs holding Israel-bound refugees to ransom

Hundreds of African refugees are being held hostage in the Sinai desert of Egypt by smugglers demanding up to $40,000 (£25,000) each for their release, human rights workers have warned.

A brutal trafficking industry has flourished over the past year in which Bedouin gangs, emboldened by their apparent impunity, extort higher and higher prices for kidnapped migrants.

Most of the hostages are Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers who paid $3,000 each to the gangs to get them to the Israeli border. Instead, they are subjected to daily torture as their captors phone their relatives at home and abroad demanding huge sums to spare their lives.

Asmerom (not his real name) receives 10 calls a day from a childhood friend, who is among 30 women and 12 men from Eritrea held in one Sinai camp. She contacts him because, unlike her family, he lives in Israel and might have access to money. She tells him they are being starved, beaten and burned with electric cables.

The 19-year-old’s captors initially demanded $40,000 for each of the 42 hostages but after three weeks, dropped the price to $30,000. The smugglers say Asmerom, 20, needs to get the money to their agent in Israel quickly or they will kill her.

“They call me when they are beating her. Her hands and feet are tied so they put the phone up to her mouth while she is screaming,” said Asmeron, clutching his phone in his hands. He looked aghast when it rings.

“I don’t understand them, they’re speaking Arabic. Listen, she keeps crying: ‘Help me, help me.’ What can I do?”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), an Israeli NGO, say Asmerom has little choice but to try to raise the money. PHR runs a clinic in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, offering medical care to asylum seekers and foreign workers who, without official status in Israel, are ineligible for anything but emergency healthcare.

Every year several thousand Africans, most of them from Eritrea and Sudan, try to get into Israel – something the Israelis are eager to halt.

Over the past 18 months, PHR has interviewed 900 people who have been tortured in the Sinai, and have traced a human trafficking network that extends to the refugee camps in Sudan and Eritrea. The NGO knows of at least 350 people being held now.

Its clinic in Jaffa is familiar with the injuries inflicted by these gangs. Torture methods include pouring hot plastic on victim’s body, electric shocks, rape – including penetration with objects – and branding with hot irons. If these methods fail to extort enough cash, survivors say the smugglers either kill their hostages or sell their organs.

“We have heard of mass graves of hundreds of people,” said Shahar Shoham, who heads PHR research into the Sinai torture camps.

Mogos Redae, 33, was released last June after nine months. His family raised money to free him by selling their house and valuables. He is lucky to be alive.

His captors would apply electric shocks to him and his fellow hostages in front of young children, encouraging the toddlers to laugh as the victims screamed in agony. Three men held with him died as a result of the beatings, one while he was shackled to Redae.

“We fell asleep huddled together but when they tried to wake him, he was dead,” said Redae. “They wrapped him in a bed sheet and threw him on the car, like garbage. They did this to me three times. They threw me to the car and then saw I was alive.

“Nobody stops you from calling whoever you want because they want the money. As long as the person you are calling is fruitful.”

After three weeks of phone calls, Asmerom could no longer bear listening to his friend’s screams. He turned off his phone and started trying to raise the money.

He contacted his friend’s parents in Eritrea, who scrabbled to produce $17,000 by selling the family home. He has given all the money he can. So have his friends and even his employer – an elderly Israeli man he cares for three days a week. He now has $24,000, but it is not enough for the captors and he has exhausted all his options.

“I went to the police station in Jerusalem. I waited for five hours and I told them everything. They said come back when I’ve raised all the money. They didn’t tell me how to do that. Frankly, they didn’t seem to care,” Asmerom said.

A spokesperson for the Israeli police said they were unable to comment on the case or any other without investigating each fully, while Israel’s defence ministry said it would be inappropriate to comment on an internal Egyptian issue. A spokesperson for the Egyptian ministry of the interior claimed to have no information on trafficking or torture in the Sinai region.

But Shoham said: “We know the names of the smugglers and their locations. We have briefed the Egyptian embassy in Israel but so far the Egyptian authorities are not doing anything.

“It is the responsibility of the Egyptian government to stop the traffickers. It is also the responsibility of Israel to protect the victims, but instead the ransoms are getting higher and the stories of torture are getting worse.”

Click on this link to watch video of an Eritrean victim:TheGuardian

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Comments

Egyptian authorities look the other way as Bedouin kidnap refugees — 34 Comments

  1. It is shameful to the Egyptian to say:

    A spokesperson for the Egyptian ministry of the interior claimed to have no information on trafficking or torture in the Sinai region.

    But Shoham said: “We know the names of the smugglers and their locations. We have briefed the Egyptian embassy in Israel but so far the Egyptian authorities are not doing anything.

    But the thing is why their bosses prefer to be quite. Do you think the American government do not have any Idea of all these crime taking place in Sinai. I am 101% sure they know, but they don’t care. If the do care, they would stop it in one day.

    But for Americans it is good entertainment. Yes, it is real Hollywood. After all. Who do you think buy the human organs of these poor African? The Egyptians? No way. It is an organized way, and goes to the rich people who are living in . . . .

    Guys, please let’s be smart. Don’t mislead with the propaganda of the America who want people to be displaced with hopeless. Stay at your home place. Don’t move anywhere . Let’s try to advance our economy, politics, culture . . . no matter how long it takes. Let’s think about next generation.

    Please once again let’s not mislead by the Americans.

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    • You trying to be smart higdef? you ppl are infested with the same disease that blames for america for ant thing happened, it proves ur immaturity denakur.

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      • Do you think america would give a shit about eritreans in sinai? No! we do not have OIL. WE ARE BLACKS!

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      • Geluj
        It is not about smartness ‘Gelugey mearey’.

        If you want to hide the truth, yes you are right I am trying to be smart. But, as an Eritrean, though I live overseas, I feel sorry for the people who lost their life and dignity on the dessert of Sinai.

        The truth is, whether they are legal or illegal, in favored or against their governments it shouldn’t happen all these to them.

        Now, my question for you is simple.

        1. Do you know that what is happening in Sinai is clear for the Americans?
        2. Do you know that, the Americans (if they want) can stop all this crime in few days if not in hours?
        3. Do you know that who is buying the human organs of the victms?
        4. Let’s temporarily assume your wrong calculation (governments are the problem) is right. And the why not those countries who you think with a good governance take them as a refugee atleast to a safe place?

        I would ask you more but I don’t think your mind can accommodate all those questions. Please answer the above questions. Forget, to mention about HGDEF or so . . . . We are talking about those who are out of control of HGDEF (out of their country) or any other African government.

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  2. This are basically Issais’s vicitims, he pushed them to leave the country. This people have no govrnment to defend them. The are desparte and no one stand to help them except the NGOs. Lets organise demonstration all over Europe. At the same time encourage Eritrean Huaman right groups to voice loud to EU and USA. Without this forces it will not be resolved.

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  3. What are you saying I-M

    What are you talking about? America? What do you mean? That do you want to shape? America? Why don’t you take your gun and destroy all Rashaida from the face of Eritrea. This rabish tribes are doing all this things. Do you want America to solve you problem even your private issues? If you get problem in your familly then you will blame America. The Rashaida are taking eritreans while crossing the border to sudan and selling them like animals. Go and demolish all the rashaida. They were nothing, they are nothing and they will be nothing in future except a problem.

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    • Mahta
      I approve your points and i understand the need that you mentioned. however how should we go there and how how!!.
      The only ways to reach there are to make deplomatic relationship with Israel, So that Israel has the power to help passage and equipments. Israel does not like rashaida so, taking comandos through their ways would have been very effective.
      or make relation with Sudan and they have good passage to these criminal gang. As you said Rashaida has no nothing and will be nothing. we can dostroy them in one day you know.

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      • “we can destroy them you know” lol Aye teraEraE!? Ab wetsae hager kuyinkas …..eehhhhh weygud si weygud tigebr aleka….why do not you raise your arm against the dictator who is the root cause of everything..??? KuwaHmaM shinti

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        • Niaka dea kulu kebid eyu mikinyatu hanti sile zeyreaka. Wey dima kem tel kebkibom enda ketketu Isreal yetiemuka ykonu. Sheyani ab siriyu. Rashida dea aynot koynom eyom. Mis america getimka teamir sirah do eleka eye betki. Dey kema shinti n shinti eyom tekebkibom ykedu shiu n sidream azmadom riduna yblu. Fera rashidas ya e sek kotsirkas tigirem. Bel beal anes qinat nadew, sirihit fenkil n gimbar dekimhare zifelit kemu wun 1998-2000 zitelahaku aygermenin eyu. Ember do Eritreawi eka? Mis HGDF dea emmo keytibil melsi ayhibekan eye. Gina Hambot adig wey telekah.

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    • Thumb up for your view, I have never liked these crap arabs since i knew their history on the struggle of eritrea. Again now and now they are proofing that theory, better with 8 ethnics. my opinion

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      • They are Eritreans. And who said you are eritrean? Kid ayte issayas wedi komarit agame yigeziaka alo….haye wured belo….You will never ever change history. Timali timali do nihzbi metahit ” ezom aslam tsegibom..? ayibehalin neyru? Hager awhisom keman kibret ayrekebun…gezae meretom bi deki kebesa yizimet alo? entay ekum ketezaribuna….haki eba nizareb…

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        • Shin keyr woldu. You can talk if you arab. We Eritreans are not Arabs. Så you are on the wrong truck. We Eritreans respect each other. But am sorry Rashaida should be eradicated by any means and it will be. It is a question of timing. Tihti hagerawinet atahasasibaka kedika ab adi areb edaga dileyelu zi gezealka ente rekebka SHEK WOLDU RASHIDA.

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    • Listen Mahta! You are mistaken by RASHIDA! There are eritrean rashaida and sudanese rashaid! Therefore, do not be a racist and you better for the betterment and equality of eritrean nationals as a whole. And if you want to fight …Wured nabti meda! Hadami!

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      • You don’t know the history. These people were doing the same same 1978-1980 even the EPLF and ELF know about it and it is well documented. Since then they show to improvements. They are repeating their history of 1978. So what do you expect? They selling your brothers? What does an Eritrean mean? I am sorry I don’t consider Rashaida as Eritreans!!!!! They are the enemey of Eritrea and Eritreans!!!! They were smahsed by EPLF from the face of Eritrea in the early 80s but you donkey know nothing and secret behind is as I said. They were doing the same as what they doing now. They taking eritrean who were crossing the boarder to sudan to escape from DERG and they were taken and sold to Arab countries and still are working as slaves. When EPLF knew this they have paid a price for it. After indepenence they come back. You know they say we are Sudanese if they want and eritrean if they want to. So who cares about this. Their evil goes beyond the border. But you and your rabish mind go to hel.

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    • Mahta
      kemey berqi mahh teblka. afka kelbee ysnelu.
      dmailka ilkas nay alet mxnat ktmhrena. zeree Hitler Zeloka ikha timesel. emb’are nezi kulu zekaydu zelewus kab bhere Rashayda traH eyom. ne’a lbee abqul bejakha

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      • What you are saying donkey. Go and serve your lord HGDF. What do you know about Rashaida? But you don’t accept JEBERTI to bi a tribe. I accept the nigerians ( Tequarir) who lives in keren and barka to be a tribe. Because they fought for independence and during the war 1998-2000. Also they are farmers and they are hard workers. We want such people. The JEBERTI I would like to tribes because they have done all their best as all Eritrean. But what Rashaida did? They sell your brothers and systers and they sell the organs of your brothers. I am sorry M.I donkey try to be a monkey at most because I don’t think you can be a human being but try to be a monkey who can write and talk.

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        • Mahta,

          AytTerater bza’eba nHGDEF serve mgbarey.

          Do you expect me to serve Woyane and his Bosses. HGDEF ftewo tslayo kdegmelka HGDEF ftewo tslayo Hiji’wn ksiliseka HGDEF ftewo tslayo mewedadritee zeyblu meriH edb hzbi Eritrea eyu. 20 ametat tefekiru, qumneger zefree gn ayre’anan. qumneger kbleka keleKhu nay woyTotat aykonkun zbleka zeleKu wala etom a’eTiQom zewafrwom zelewu goytotom America’wn amberkiKhnayom ember ayemberkeKhunan. dHri hiji kemberkuKhna txbe enteloKha gn mihret yewrdelka

          qdm Shaebia
          Lomee Shaebia
          Tsibah Sahebia

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  4. M I It shame to blame America for every thing instead blame yourself for not blaming the cause we know the the problem is your mafia government. If u want a right solution lets fight the source. Otherwise it is not wise to blame others for not doing your part.

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    • Berhanne

      xbuQ Shm, hasab gn aygidn

      Asha dye bele berakhi. nmengstey zxerfsi entay kemx’e eye. dos kal’ot mengstat khgosu eele. nmengstey nzgodelo b’aqmey enahaezku d’ea yeml’alu ember enda gorebiet wey adi hager keyde doron doron entebelku entay qumneger kemx’e ymesleka.

      ab gezakha xegem entelo, kab dege mkhri ember fitah ketemx’e t’hasb entelokha darg zeyelokha eyu.

      dhar dma kem hiszbawi gnbar, shaebia, HGDEF d’eamo temahlilka zeyrkeb mengsti endyu entay koyne blame kigebro. esike abten gorebabtna emo gdefo ab afriqa yKhun ab kali’e alem kemzi merihnet bzey domoz emo sma mew’elka ab guday hager zserH meriHnet nehayen tfelT do?

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  5. M I,
    Right, it is very shame to hear this from the official government statement. This is happening to many Eritrean and African refugees in Egypt, Sudan and Libya. For every refugee that arrives to Israel, many are killed or handicapped forever by the Arab Bedeuines.
    One wonders, why are these heinous crimes happening in these Arab countries, but not in Sub Saharan Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Angola or South Africa?
    The most disgusting is the Arab Republic of Egypt denying the crimes taking place under its stinking nose.
    “A spokesperson for the Egyptian ministry of the interior claimed to have no information on trafficking or torture in the Sinai region.
    But Shoham said: “We know the names of the smugglers and their locations. We have briefed the Egyptian embassy in Israel but so far the Egyptian authorities are not doing anything.”

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    • Those like MI who believe America is the problem for the predicament we have on this issue (Sinai) baffle me because I find it too far fetched to relate. I am an Obama great admirer so to blame contemporary global situation to America does not come as easily as it would have had it been during the Bush and Neocons administration. I believe Obama is the breath of fresh air that the American noble constitution upholds on how a society should arrange itself. Having said that, for the rest of my life, I will never be at peace with the word Bedouins because I will always relate it to this atrocious inhuman reality we are suffering to the bone at present. I have no doubt in my mind that our nightmare and our source of desperation is Isayas Afewerki and his yes men and women. How far is the day when they are no longer there and we will live normal and ordinary lives?

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  6. why would some one blame or look a help from America? America will never spend a penny or give an attention to a case where there is no profit – they have enough problem on their back (credit crunch). Thousands of africans, south americans, Asians from third world countries are crossing the boarders illegally to the west looking for job (mainly brain washed by the west PR) – as long as the gab between rich and poor countries is getting wider and wider this exodus will continue wit its ugly side and the road is always rocky our people will continue to be humiliated.

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  7. The Egyptian Authorities can listen only when their Kids are kidnapped. Wake up brothers

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  8. hi eritreans
    it is very shame to blame the bedouins or rahashida!
    the is no crime to be attributed to these people. the only malefactor is the gangsters/warlords in eritrea.
    all the border crossing, kiddnapping and charging of thousands of dallars is done by these gangsters. there is well develped and organized line from Asmara till Israel.
    1. there is an office in Tessenei, it was designed for guest house for HGDEF memebrs when they have a vistit from asmara or from any place of eritrea to Gash barka. this guest house or FULUY GHUDAY like during the time of the armed struggle is used to carriyng out meetings for designing how to do this evil things over the eritrean people. You will find all the Rashaida peole with thier laptops, latest model pickup cars parked out side the house and with other modern facilities to to this brutal missions just to collect money from selling eritrea organs and human traffing from asmara to sudan and israel.
    I ADVICE ANY CONCERNED EITREAN TO PROBE THIS AND CONTINUE FURTHER STUDY ABOUT IT AND FIND OUT OTHER CRIMES OF THE DICTATOR AND HIS CLIQUE.
    so we eritreans have no enemy except the current bloody gang in eritrea.

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  9. hi eritreans
    it is very shame to blame the bedouins or rahashida!
    the is no crime to be attributed to these people. the only malefactor is the gangsters/warlords in eritrea.
    all the border crossing, kiddnapping and charging of thousands of dallars is done by these gangsters. there is well develped and organized line from Asmara till Israel.
    1. there is an office in Tessenei, it was designed for guest house for HGDEF memebrs when they have a vistit from asmara or from any place of eritrea to Gash barka. this guest house or FULUY GHUDAY like during the time of the armed struggle is used to carriyng out meetings for designing how to do this evil things over the eritrean people. You will find all the Rashaida peole with thier laptops, latest model pickup cars parked out side the house and with other modern facilities to to this brutal missions just to collect money from selling eritrea organs and human traffing from asmara to sudan and israel.
    I ADVICE ANY CONCERNED EITREAN TO PROBE THIS AND CONTINUE FURTHER STUDY ABOUT IT AND FIND OUT OTHER CRIMES OF THE DICTATOR AND HIS CLIQUE.
    so we eritreans have no enemy except the current bloody gang in eritrea

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    • Abnet
      It is true, any Eritrean who visit TESSENEI recently tell you about Rashaidans
      with their trucks dominating the streets of the city. At the same time instead we
      try to face facts pointing fingers could not help. Eritreans , Sudanese , Rashaidans
      and Bodoweens must held responsibility. If you want catch the leader of organized
      criminal group you start with their foot soldiers to get on them.The problem is, the
      suspicion of some higher-up officials in Kessala -SUDAN and inside ERITREA involvement on to these criminal activities makes difficult for investigation because
      of the cover-up. Anyway it is painfull to think about it, you feel helpless and speechless to see Eritreans on this level contrary our pride. I’m sad what can I say.

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  10. hi
    * the bedouins or rahashida torture victim Eritreans sice 4 years and the world watchs and
    amuses to see how the negros suffer!
    * 8 years ago the Europeans (whose initiator was Mr. Otto Scheely, internal minister of
    Germany) wanted to build a refugee camp in north africa (Libya?)
    * The Eritrean regime remains still silent
    * The UNHCR, whose job is to protect victims/refugees is presumeably the most active actor
    in the dillema in underground
    * The EU even so
    * The is defacto no body who protects the victim Eritreans or defends their rights world
    wide, except Elsa Chirum
    * TheEritrean refugees are in a closed door with no windows in Israel, the land of the jews, whose master is the brave Hitler of Germany. The were eliminated in the WWII not without reason – the are evil to the extrem, even worse than the Agames! We need now Hitler the 2nd, some one who liquidates the jews (Note I am an Eritrean christian!), then the world could be saver.
    * The situation is for me in undefined state. TZheir target is to exhaust the assets of all Eritreans in the world; The whole ransoms are in the hands of the Eritrean regime, not with the Bedouins/Rashaida!

    So what is the solution finally?

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    • Yigermenalo
      I agree with you, this sad criminal activities toward Eritreans had been going on for
      too long. Nobody knows how many lost their life on that evil land. We are bleeding
      inside of us, only God knows .

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