Africa Monitors’ Interview with four Eritrean migrants in Al-Huda Prison, Khartoum Part-2

Note: The interview was conducted in January 2017 and Africa Monitors has learned that the Eritrean detainees were deported to Eritrea in February 2017. Note that the name of the security officer who cooperated to meet and interview the detainees has been changed for his protection.

Would you be kind enough to tell your name and from which part of Eritrean you are?

Nigisti Huruy Zeraay is my name and I am from Golij, a southern village in Gash-Barka region.

How did you manage crossing Eritrean borders and how come you ended up in Al-Huda prison?

I had been working as a street vendor in Golij, most of the time selling tea. After a close friend of mine informed me that he could help me to cross the border to Sudan if I could be able to pay 15,000 Nakfa. For I was planning to go to Sudan, I did not take any time to provide him with the money. I crossed the border end entered Sudan through a place called Hafir. From there I headed to UNHCR-sponsored refugee camp in Shegerab. Life at that cam was very tough. It was unbearable for me. Thus, I decided to go to Khartoum. I made a 2000 Sudanese Pound deal with a middle man called Suleiman. While we are heading to Khartoum, Sudanese securities confronted us and we were taken directly to this prison.

What do you think could be the reason Sudanese security forces seized and imprisoned you?

The possible reason is that we entered Sudan illegally. When we were confronted by Sudanese forces on our way to Khartoum, we took them for bandits at first, but when we saw their military and badges we learned they are government forces. They boarded to their truck and brought us here. We arrived at night, so we did not know where we were. The next morning a translator came and informed us that we are illegal migrants and our case will be courted. It has been months ever since.

Is there any physician who follows your health conditions at all?

There is one female nurse attendant. She visits once in a week. As you can see there is no sanitation in this prison. This added to the large number of prisoners exacerbate any contamination that could befall.
Could you tell your name and from which part of Eritrea you are?

I am Saliem Nuguse from Khehawuta vicinity in Asmara.

How did you manage crossing Eritrean borders and how come you ended up in Al-Huda prison?

I entered Kassala through Haikota on a lorry, after I paid $4,000 to a smuggler nicknamed ‘wedi-keren’. When we arrived in Kassala, the smugglers kept us in a store for almost a week. “routes are unsafe for a time being!” was their excuse. Then they intended to take us to Shegerab Camp, but we refused as our deal was direct from Asmara to Khartoum. After that they agreed to go accordingly. But, after we were about to reach Khartoum, Sudanese securities apprehended us and we were brought here.

What followed when you were brought in to this prison?

They told us that our case will be reviewed by a court and we will be notified of the decision. But till this very moment we heard nothing. Our condition is getting awful from time to time.

Did the Eritrean Embassy or any other human rights organization tried to reach you?

Let alone that , we cannot even make a phone call. No relative or friend in Sudan can reach us and our parents don’t know whether we are alive.

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