13 Aug. 2018
Mediterranean Sea, Mid-Sea
Esam (L), 22, and Ahmed, 38, both from Sudan, stand on board NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue boat in central Mediterranean Sea, August 4, 2018. Ahmed travels with his 13-year-old son. "We are from Darfur. We arrived in Libya from Sudan. In the city of Sabratah, 22 people were kidnapped for seven days but our captors made a mistake and we broke a window and escaped. We went to Kasar- El Karabulli and waited a month and eleven days until it was our turn to get on a rubber boat for which we paid 2000 dinars each. On July 31 at night, it was time to board. We got on the boat and we were sailing for seven hours in an easterly direction because if we went straight north we could be caught by a Libyan coastguard patrol boat. We headed north and sailed for 15 hours until the engine of the boat broke. We were adrift for more than three hours, in the middle of the night, until we saw some lights approaching. We began to make signals with a telephone. There was a moment of great fear and nervousness because we did not see well and the worst thing that could happen is that the Libyan patrol arrived and forced us to return to that hell. But then we heard from one of the two fast speedboats that approached: "We are friends, we are a Spanish rescue ship". We began to shout with joy. Some did not understand the message, perhaps because they do not speak English, and thought that one of the two boats was the Libyan coastguard and threw themselves into the water, preferring to risk drowning than return to Libya. Luckily we are all alive. We have a new opportunity." REUTERS/Juan Medina/File photo SEARCH "MEDINA OPENARMS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.