December 2, 2017
: We’ve all heard stories of the Libyan slavetrade. Well now we have first-hand stories from the slaves themselves. They told harrowing stories of how they became enslaved, and how they managed to escape.
Here’s an account from one former slave, who escpaed capitvity in Libya:
Kelvin Sunday, 21, an Edo State indigene, who returned with Chibuzor, told Saturday PUNCH that he was in Libya for seven months.
He spent N965,000 to get to Libya after raising the money with the help of friends and his my sister.
Sunday explained that a friend of his, who made it to Europe, convinced him to embark on the journey.
According to him, 41 of them set out in Kano for the journey through the desert but only 10 made it to Libya.
He said their fate was sealed when their vehicle developed an engine fault in the desert.
Sunday said, “We were in the desert for three days without food or water. We were drinking our urine to survive. It got to a point that when there was no more urine to drink, we started to drink fuel.
“When we got to Libya, I was working in my burger’s house. I spent two weeks there before I went to the seaside (in Tripoli) where we would cross. From Sabha to the seaside in Tripoli, I spent two weeks. On the way, some traffickers kidnapped us. They beat and loaded us into their Hilux van, but few of us jumped down and I broke my leg. I managed to escape as they were shooting.
“We spent two days in the desert again after that escape. We later saw a motorist whom we begged to help us get to the seaside.
“We were camped at the seaside for three months without any opportunity to cross through the seas. People trying to cross the sea told me to avoid Nigerians helping Libyans to sell people. But later our camp was raided by soldiers, who took us to prison.”
He had spent four months in the cell before luck smiled on him and IOM officials effected his repatriation along with many others.
And female slaves got it worse. They were repeatedly raped. Listen to the stories of these two women:
Another returnee, Esosa Osas, 25, who was a hairdresser before he left Nigeria, spent six months in Libya. She told tales of many women being raped.
“It is either rape or death. Nobody could refuse being raped,” she said.
A fellow Edo State indigene, Odion Saliu, 26, told Saturday PUNCH that the Nigerian trafficker who facilitated her trip lied to her.
She said, “She told me that once in Kano, we were going to take a plane to Libya. I was shocked when we were loaded into a vehicle.
“We spent nine days crossing the desert to Libya. I was kidnapped and sold at least three times before God brought me back to my fatherland. I am really thankful to God that I am alive.”