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Escape from Somalia just start of harrowing journey

May 13, 2009

By Guy Dinmore

Published: May 13 2009

Farah Mohammad “Sharake” Adan, a 29-year-old Somali journalist, and his wife Hinde both fled Islamists in Mogadishu, eventually finding asylum in Italy last year, writes Guy Dinmore . But only after a harrowing journey through Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and then Libya where Hinde was beaten in the desert and miscarried a child.

Mr Adan relates in Rome how they fled Somalia after two of his colleagues on their Panorama magazine were shot dead and he was caught in a car bomb attack after their funeral. Hinde’s first husband was shot dead in front of her.

“People drank their urine or sold it to others,” Mr Adan says, describing their desert crossing in Libya with traffickers who “traded us like goats”. Once in Tripoli they were jailed. Men were beaten and starved. Some got out by paying $1,200 (€880, £786) to their Libyan guards. Another $4,000 got a place on a boat run by Libyan traffickers to Italy.

They were lucky to reach Italy when it still had what the UN calls a thorough and humane asylum policy. Within three months they had asylum and modest state support.

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