translated from Tigrigna.
Yasser Idris was born and raised in the city of Keren, Eritrea. Unable to descry a bright future in his homeland, he decided to brave the dangers of migration. He set out in end of May 2016 along with his three friends. As they did not have any travel document that allows them to freely move from one Eritrean region to the other, Yasser and associates had to trek out in the night past the northwestern checkpoint in the outskirts of Keren to the Sudan with utmost care.
They were well aware that they could encounter some unforeseen difficulty in their perilous journey. They were yet cognizant of the fact that they could easily fall preys–further than the affliction from the scortching sun, hunger and thirst –to human traffickers and smugglers. After several days of peregrination with little respite, however, they eventually managed to set their feet on the Sudanese soil.
By the time Yasser with his travel companions sallied out towards the Kassala city, a white pickup fast approached them apparently flying swifter than the wind and drew up before them. Armed men jumped out of the small truck and pointed muzzles of AK-47 warning them to not make any move. They bulldozed them in Arabic to board, or else, they fall victim to bullets.
With Yasser and his travel companions on board, the chauffeur of the pickup hit the gas northbound. They did not know where it was heading. Having reached a small village of the Rashaida, it was quite evident that they had fallen into the hands of the Bedouins. Those armed men threw Yasser and his friends into a pit-like underground and shut it with a metal door behind them. Hours later, the door was forcefully opened and Yasser and his friends were ordered to get out. A rather old Bedouin man with gray hair drew near them and said, “Listen, I have bought you like these herds here and you are now my own property. This cell phone will stay with you. All I need from you is that you make a call to your friends and relatives in the diaspora and pay me 20,000 Sudanese pounds within few days.”
Yasser and his friends gave calls to their family and friends and explained to them the ransom being demanded. Yasser’s friends were immediately released as soon as the ransom was paid. Born to a needy family, which was unable to pay the money, Yasser was now locked up alone in the underground.
Yasser’s father, Mr. Idris, was a driver, who provides for his family with subsistence living. As a result, Yasser endured an inconceivably harsh physical and psychological torment for three months. They even went on to torture him with beads of melting plastic on his back and called his parents so that they would hear the agony of their son on the phone. When his parents asked him of his whereabouts, Yasser was only able to sobbingly witness small hills through the openings of the door.
After consulting with kinsfolk in Kassala, they concluded that Yasser was confined at a Totil hill somewhere around Ketmiya al -gedima in Kassala and searched him therebouts, but to no avail. Worst coming to worst, Yasser was sold to other smugglers during which time his parents had to pay 45,000 Sudanese pounds.
With no choice left, Yasser’s parents had to take up a collection raised through alms and loan for his redemption. The smugglers in Hajer told Yasser’s parents to transfer the money in order that their son could make it safely to Khartoum.
After three months of incessant torture, Yasser was released at the end of the day with a facial bone in disorder and a post-traumatic stress disorder. Yasser together with his parents and kindred are now visiting traditional medication centers of the Sheikhs and hospitals in Khartoum.
Head of the Police Department in Kassala, Yahya al-Haddi, said a special court in the district of Kassala passed in October 2016 a death sentence on eight criminals who were involved In smuggling and human trafficking as well as transfer of amunitions. In an interview he gave to the Sudanese news agency, Mr. al -Haddi explained one of the convicts is a notorious smuggler in the Kassala Region.