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Johanna de Tessières
Rescue Date
CONTENT WARNING: This testimony depicts extreme scenes of violence, including acts of torture.

Ibrahima was one of the 25 survivors rescued on the 13th of March after spending seven days at sea. Around 60 people on his boat perished during the journey. 

My name is Ibrahima*, I’m 14 years old and I’m from the city of Serekunda in Gambia. I’m travelling alone. I was in Libya for 3 years before I decided to leave. I left my country after the death of my parents. I lost my dad in 2014 and my mum in 2021. Before I went to school but then I had no one to help me. I had some friends that told me about people who were travelling to Europe. I decided to do it too. I wanted to help my family (sister), my friends. Many people around me didn’t have enough food to eat. I travelled to Gambia to Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, I crossed the desert in Niger then I arrived in Libya. I spent two months crossing the desert. I was lacking water; I was drinking mixtures of oil and water.

In Libya I was working as a car washer. Libya is very sad. There, I was beaten by the mafia; they broke my leg.

We departed from Libya with 85 people, 4 women and a baby. After two days our engine broke. It was not easy. I saw so many of my friends dying. Some people started losing their minds. One night, one woman took all her clothes off and we couldn’t understand what she was saying. She was from Nigeria; I didn’t speak her language.

Others perished along the way because of the lack of food and water. There were fishing vessels in the vicinity, we were waving but no one saw us. We had to drink sea water to survive.

When I saw the Ocean Viking, I cried. I thought “thank God”. We were suffering. We had no food, no water. On that boat, I was thinking about my sister. I called her the day I left Libya and since then I didn’t give her any news. I was thinking she must be so worried. This journey is not easy if I had known I would never have done it, I would never have gone on that boat. I must tell my friends not to go.

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Lucille Guenier / SOS MEDITERRANEE


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