>> Migrants who survived the grueling Saharan Desert crossing, breath a sigh of relief when they reach Libya. The Mediterranean and Europe beyond seem to be within grasp. For most though, Libya is the end of the road and the beginning of an even worse ordeal. Reuters Edward McAllister has spoken to Gambians in Dakar, who returned from the Libyan oasis town of Sabha.
Where most migrants emerge from the desert. They tell of people being forced into hard labor, kidnapped, abused, and even sold.>> The unlucky ones are the ones like a 22-year-old Gambian I spoke to, called Mafu Hydara. Who said he was kidnapped one day, he was taken to a small prison, and was tortured by his captors.
While his uncle in Senegal was on the other end of the phone line, listening while he was being tortured and beaten for ransom. Hydara was actually released because his uncle was able to pay the money, but many like him are not released.>> Hundreds of thousands of migrants are believed to be trapped in Libya.
A lawless country in the grip of a civil war, where armed groups, Islamist militants, and people smugglers operate. But it's the only route left open to them. Former passages through Morocco, Algeria, and the Canary Islands are now heavily policed. Little chance of that happening in southern Libya.>> Police can't do anything, the migrants find themselves stranded.
The EU has said that it's gonna pay 90 million euros to help the situation down there. But many experts say that that's gonna come to nothing. If you can't get down there, if you can't get boots on the ground, it's gonna be very difficult to help the policing of the situation down there.
>> The International Organization of Migration is hoping to repatriate some 10,000 migrants from Libya this year. It's a start, but many more will be left stranded and prey to powerful smuggling networks.