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Let’s Talk About It! Some Africans Still Emigrating from their Countries Via Boat | Why are They Willing to Risk their Lives?



The recent spate of boat disasters involving Africans who tried to emigrate from their respective countries to Europe is quite disheartening.

You will recall the case of Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat that threw 12 fellow African passengers overboard, killing them, because they were Christians.

In addition, the recent shipwreck in the Mediterranean, which led to the death of hundreds of migrants who were traveling from Libya to Italy, has led many to ask why people are willing to emigrate from their countries at all costs, even if means risking their lives.

According to CNN, many of the migrants that passed away as a result of the shipwreck, were from countries like Algeria, Egypt, Somalia, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Zambia, Ghana, and Bangladesh.

Why do some of these migrants embark on the perilous journey despite the risks?

Two Eritrean men told CNN why they were willing to risk everything to leave their country. Here are excerpts from the report:

Grymay Tesfamical, 18, a Christian student from Eritrea

migrant 2Grymay Tesfamical lifts his shirt to show a scar on his back, the mark of the bullet he dodged.

The 18-year-old former student said he was traveling with a group of fellow Eritreans on two buses when they were intercepted by 10 armed ISIS fighters, just south of Tripoli.

“Two buses were surrounded and they were looking for Christians and Muslims. They put Muslims here and Christians over there. That was Da’esh in Libya,” Tesfamical said.

He said the ISIS fighters beheaded 20 people at the side of the road; he ran away, feeling the sting of a bullet as it grazed his back.

“In Libya it was very very dangerous. If you have this,” he said, clasping the crucifix around his neck, “it means this,” gesturing to suggest a knife slicing his throat.

Tesfamical said he fled Eritrea one year ago to avoid compulsory conscription. He took a route via Ethiopia, through Sudan before arriving in Libya by bus.

He said in Libya, Christian migrants were routinely beaten and denied food and water. From there, he too fled on a boat bound for Italy, in search of a safer, better life.

Esayas Nisque, 18, student from Senafe, Eritrea

Migrant 1For Esayas Nisque, home is a small town in Eritrea, a few hours walk from the Ethiopian border. Most of the local men leave to find work in other countries. Few want to stay in Eritrea, he said: “As soon as you finish school and are not learning then they want to make you a soldier.”

Nisque’s journey to Europe took him by way of a refugee camp in Ethiopia where he lived for six years, before heading to Libya and making the treacherous journey to Italy by sea…

The boat, carrying around 500 people, left Libya early one evening three weeks ago; it didn’t take long for the unstable craft to start taking on water.

“Journey not good,” Nisque said. “The boat opened up and we were a short [distance] from Italy and a helicopter came to help us.”

Read the full report on CNN


  1. Mystique

    April 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    BN, good question……. I’m also here for the answer to that question. #legscrossedandwaiting

  2. Adebola

    April 23, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    You forgot to mention Nigeria among the countries.

    • Olu

      April 23, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Most Nigerians dont go by boat.

  3. Anonymous

    April 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    America will know

    • wagamama

      April 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      America already knows biko. And if they don’t (they can claim deaf and dumb), reuben abati should send a memo.

  4. @edDREAMZ

    April 23, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Africa is a dead continent and me and my family is just managing it…..

  5. Anon

    April 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Hopelessness, but it shouldn’t be.

    I listened to a cousin of a footballer who died from Senegal. She said they were from a middle class family and he was playing for one of the local clubs. It beggars belief why he went through such a hazardous route to get to Europe. He drowned and his body will never be found.

  6. Becca

    April 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Partly because the search and rescue ops facilitates the traffickers and encourages the immigrants to take the risk. Europe should take Aussie approach and send these ships right back. Tough, but it is the only way to nip these disasters in the bud.
    The surviving victims claim to have paid the traffickers in excess of £8,000 for a one way potential suicide mission on a dingy! For that sum they could have flown first class & had change! That is more than enough to re-establish themselves in safer neighbouring african countries. They aren’t fleeing death and destruction they are opportunists who should be sent back.

  7. naijabebaii

    April 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I know fit shout

  8. i no send

    April 23, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    @ becca i wonder how they came up with that huge sum of money yet they are suffering..maybe they are escaping sad

  9. fleur

    April 24, 2015 at 12:11 am

    No promise of tomorrow. That is why people risk drowning and encounters with ISIS. As much as it sounds intangible, a life without evidence of what tomorrow may hold is the worst type of inhumanity. Our governments and their lack of concern for their people is the cause of the desperate migration.

  10. nnenne

    April 24, 2015 at 12:59 am

    I think human beings are like animals . They migrate for greener pasture.This cuts across all races and ethnic groups.
    There is nothing bad in migrating if you legally have the opportunity, in times of war, famine etc.
    The reason why people take the risks sometimes is because they ignorantly believe there is paradise elsewhere, which is a lie.
    Blame the media for that!!
    Why would someone pay $10,000 or more for a visa, only to migrate and become an illegal alien?
    That money could start a good business for you in Nigeria.

  11. amaa

    April 24, 2015 at 9:47 am

    East and North Africans historically are known to migrate for food water and pastures. With civilization war, famine, corrupt and inefficient government it has gotten worse . My question is this , How do they come up with this huge amount of monies to facilitate their journeys and they cant come up with that to survive. I think the EU should looked into the Australian approach and a find a Humane way to send this migrants back . The only winners in this whole mess are the smugglers. Europe is facing recessions. There are no jobs Italians, Maltese, Spaniards etc can not afford to take care of their citizens. That is why a lot of African migrants resort to crimes and are magnets for radicalize ideologies . They have no skills to offer, they don’t have the resources to improve themselves educationally it becomes a vicious cycle . Stay home it is worse in Europe trust me.

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