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Eritreans fighting for ISIS in Libya recognized by A 16-year-old Eritrean migrant who escaped captivity in Libya

'We were forced to watch IS cutting heads' "They made me watch everything," Nael said. "After the kidnapping they put us in one big hole, Eritreans and Ethiopians." "Then one day they came over and brought black clothes and asked 47 people to wear them. Then, they took them to the sea. They also carried 10 minors, I was among them. I saw when IS shot them dead. We kept screaming," he continued. The jihadists reportedly did the same with the rest of the group – about 14 people – who were forced to wear orange jumpsuits. "We were forced to watch IS cut their heads," Nael said. The boy was kidnapped on 3 March after he crossed Libya from Sudan along with other 61 Eritrean men, 10 Eritrean women and 8 Ethiopians. About 20 or 30 armed IS members stopped the Tripoli-bound caravan of migrants in the middle of the southern Libyan desert and they started asking religious questions. "They wanted to know who was Muslim among us. We Christians had crosses and pictures of Jesus, so we really couldn't hide it," he said. 'I keep seeing people being slaughtered and shot one by one' Somalians were allowed to continue, while Eritreans and Ethiopians were driven to the IS camp in the desert. There were about 300-400 members of the jihadist group in the camp and for days the prisoners, who were tied and held in a large hole, were told that "the boss will come and decided our destiny". Nael recognised three Eritreans fighting for IS. "We hoped they were going to help us, but instead they showed no emotions," he said.

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Eritrea at the Center of Europe’s ‘Clandestine’ Migration Crisis

How do you solve a problem like Eritrea? The European debate on migration in the Mediterranean has taken precedence because of the increasing number of deaths of those attempting to cross. Many more will attempt to reach Sicily from Libya as the weather improves over the spring and summer, the busiest seasons of the year because of the calmer and presumably safer waters. As the debate about how to manage the inevitable surge of boatloads of refugees has focused on renewing the so-called ‘Mare Nostrum’ policy of sending European patrols closer to the Libyan coast, there is an element of analysis that continues to be missing. It concerns the causes of such risky migration in the first place. Why do so many men and women risk their lives and those of their families in making a trip with effectively limited chances of success? There is an apparent determination to shun an analysis of what is happening and what can be done in the country from where the overwhelming majority of these refugees originate: Eritrea. Indeed, all the corpses found during the night after the shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa last week were Eritrean. A whole generation of youth have been forced to leave their country, oppressed by the dictatorship.According to United Nations estimates, about 4,000 people escape from this small country in the Horn of Africa every month. Last year alone, nearly 10,000 arrived in Italy. Many are lost during the trip; about a hundred people a day flee from Eritrea through the Sudan. Those who are caught early get arrested because they lack papers; others die in the Sahara desert as they make their way toward the Libyan coast from the south, some may even fall prey to organ traffickers. Eritrea has earned the reputation of a country with a poor human rights record. The grave violations of human rights include arbitrary detention of those perceived to be political enemies, including opposition members (who have to operate in secret), journalists, and even former allies of president – or rather dictator – Isaias Afewerki.

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Mediterranean migrants crisis: Italy ‘at war’ with people smugglers

Italy says it is "at war" with migrant traffickers, and has urged the EU to take robust action to stop more people dying in the Mediterranean. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi made the comment ahead of an EU summit on Thursday to discuss the crisis. Italy's Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti told Italian TV that the EU should consider military intervention. More than 800 people drowned off Libya's coast on Sunday, bringing the number of deaths this year to 1,750.The number of people attempting to flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, particularly Eritreans and Syrians, has spiked in recent months, leading to huge numbers of people drowning in unseaworthy and often overcrowded vessels.

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Eritrea: Africa’s land of exodus

Eritrea is the world's most censored country according to a new list released by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Thousands of Eritreans flee to Europe to escape torture and arbitrary arrests.Mohammed Idris speaks softly as he vividly recalls his journey a year ago. It took him from Eritrea to Europe. "In Libya, it was very hard. I even had to spend a month in prison," says the Eritrean. Then he ventured the crossing to Europe. "We boarded a boat and went across the Mediterranean to Italy." Unlike many others, Mohammed Idris made it to Germany. Each year, thousands of Eritreans flee the Horn of Africa nation. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, over 300,000 Eritreans fled the nation of 6.5 million inhabitants last year. It's not just the men, but also many women and their children who risk everything to take the perilous journey across the desert and into the Mediterranean. "The majority of them are very young," Mussie Zerai, a Catholic priest who fled to Italy from Eritrea more than 20 years ago, told DW in an interview.

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Escaping Eritrea: ‘If I die at sea, it’s not a problem – at least I won’t be tortured’

Like many of her fellow Eritrean refugees, Sofia, who managed to escape northwards to Cairo, has a very simple reason for fleeing her homeland. “In Eritrea you’re even afraid to talk to your family,” she says. “The person next to me [in a cafe] could be a spy, and they are looking at what you are doing. People disappear every day.” One day, a friend made the innocent mistake of striking up a conversation with a man in a cafe who later turned out to be from the Libyan embassy. “They were just chatting. And they said she was a spy passing information to him. We don’t know what happened to her. She is in jail till now. One day they told us she was in hospital with high blood pressure but we were so afraid that we didn’t go because we feared they might arrest us too.”

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ISIS executes three asylum seekers deported by Israel

At least three Eritrean asylum seekers who lived in Israel and were deported to a third country were executed by Islamic State militants in Libya this past week, according to family and friends who recognized them in a video released by the extremist Sunni group. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants is checking the possibility that additional Eritreans deported by Israel were also executed.“I recognized my relative, T., from the photos published by ISIS that appeared on Facebook before the video was released,” says Mesi Fashiya, an Israeli-born Eritrean who came to Israel in the 70s. “I thought it was him, but then ISIS announced that it was a group of Ethiopians, so I began to look into it. The people at the Holot detention center also saw the photos — they hoped it was only photos, and that they didn’t really kill them. After they released the video there was no doubt. I couldn’t watch, but my friends in Holot did and couldn’t sleep all night.” T. a distant relative of Fashiya, came to Israel through Egypt in 2007. He lived with her for a period of time, and the two became close. According to her, T.’s mental state deteriorated after being sent to Holot, and despite her promises to try and do everything to release him, he eventually decided to sign a voluntary departure form and was deported to a third country — Rwanda or Uganda. T.’s brother, who lives in Norway, told Fashiya that T. attempted to reach Europe. He crossed Sudan and reached Libya, where he got on a boat to Europe that was turned back. The last thing they heard was that he was in a Libyan prison.

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Slaughter on the beach: ISIS behead and shoot Ethiopian Christians in sickening new propaganda video 

A shocking new video appearing to show at least 30 Christians being beheaded and shot by ISIS has been released this afternoon. The 29-minute video shows dozens of militants holding two separate groups captive in Libya.At least 16 men, described by Islamic State as the 'followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church', are lined up in a desert area while 12 others are filmed being forced to walk down a beach.

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South Africa Xenophobia 2015: Amid Durban Violence, Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya

Malawi, Nigeria and Kenya are calling for the evacuation of their nationals from South Africa amid continuing xenophobic attacks and violence in the coastal city of Durban, media reports said. At least five non-South Africans, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed in Durban since last week, and the violence has so far displaced about 5,000 foreigners in the eastern port city. Officials fear the attacks could escalate. The Malawian government announced Thursday it would evacuate its nationals from South Africa, Agence France-Presse reported. Hundreds of Malawians are living in refugee camps in Durban after fleeing the xenophobic violence, leaving their homes and belongings behind, including their passports. “The situation is really tense as about 360 Malawians are stranded in South Africa following xenophobic attacks there,” Malawi’s Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa said Thursday.

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