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How 20 Libyan dinars in your pocket can save your life after a perilous journey


“Here in Italy, I still have 20 Libyan dinars with me, do you know why?

I have heard that it was getting more and more common to be stopped on open sea by bandits. They kidnap migrants and take them back to the Libyan shores, put them in prisons, ask for a ransom and for the payment of a new boat trip. In these prisons, bandits literally let people die. Those who do not have the money to buy food, are going to die for hunger.

Thus, I kept that 20 dinars with me on the boat. In case I would have been kidnapped, I would not die for hunger.”

The Journey

“Luckily enough, no gangs kidnapped us on the Sea and we managed to reach Italy. The Sea was horrific, but the land route was it as well.  I left from Gambia because I had some problems with my family. I crossed Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso before getting to Niger.

The more we got closer to Niger, the less we felt safe. The more we got closer to Niger, the more there were check points along the route stopping us, threating us and asking for bribes. Police is very greedy overthere. In Niger, groups of smugglers recruite migrants, telling them that everything will be ok, that the road is safe. But it is not. It is very easy for us to believe them, as our dream is to leave our countries and make this journey, it is to leave for a better future.

After crossing the desert, we all thought that the harshest part of the road was over. We were wrong.

From Gatron to Sabah, in Libya, smugglers loaded us up in a tank truck. It was 33 meters long. We were 137 people inside. We did not have any water with us. For 6 hours, we stayed in the dark of the tank, with very little air. I fainted before getting to Sabah.

I spent 3 months in Libya, the worst 3 months of my entire life, which it is still too hard to talk about.”