Various Bedouin tribes have turned the Sinai Triangular Peninsula into a nightmare for Africa with their torture and human trafficking. The tribes profit through their kidnapping regime and ransom strategies, making millions of dollars in the process.
This kidnapping racket has existed for many years. Bedouin tribes snatch refugees during their flight from their home countries or while they are in refugee camps. Have left their homes to build a better life, the kidnapped victims largely originate from Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan, often on their way to Europe or Israel. There have been reports of bribed border-patrolmen who enable the kidnappings. The victims are next transported to Sinai, where they are tortured and held for ransom. Oftentimes, they are sold multiple times, passed from trader to trader with new ransoms each time. The ransom fees reach up to $50,000, an impossible amount for most African refugee families.
While held in the camps, sickening acts of torture take place. Various forms of physical torture, sexual torture, and starvation are among the most common. One means of transport involves placing the victims in metal shipping containers without ventilation or toilets. The Physicians for Human Rights director, Shahar Shoham, has reported over 1,300 individual incidents of torture in Sinai alone. However, Shoham reports the majority of torture cases go undocumented. Known torture methods include upside-down hanging, electric shocks, and pouring liquid plastic on them, sometimes while on the phone with their families in an attempt to scare their relatives into providing the ransom money.
According to the New York Times, abductors have captured over 7,000 refugees, with 4,000 of their victims dying durring imprisonment. Even if captives manage to escape or be released due to a paid ransom, their situation remains bleak. They are left to wander around the Israeli border and attempt to make the dangerous border-crossing. They must also avoid Israeli and Egyptian police, or risk being arrested or deported back to the countries they originally fled.
Even with all this information available, little is being done to address the problem. In fact, the problem is reported to be worsening. Friendly Bedouin tribes offer assistance to escaped torture camp victims, but do not have the political clout necessary to make any real change. Opponents of the torture camps fear a massive bloodshed if any attempts are made to stop the kidnapping heists. The Egyptian government has essentially turned a blind eye on this deadly region as well, leaving these victims on their own to fight for their rights.
– Allison Meade