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Hellish conditions in Saudi COVID camps for African migrants spark outrage


Hellish conditions in Saudi COVID camps for African migrants spark outrage

Deathly scenes in Saudi Arabia’s detention facilities to control COVID-19 spread

By Will Brown and Zecharias Zelalem

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph newspaper of UK has revealed hellish conditions in Saudi Arabia’s Covid detention facilities for African migrants.

The Report shows that Saudi Arabia, is keeping hundreds if not thousands of African migrants locked in heinous conditions reminiscent of Libya’s slave camps as part of a drive to stop the spread of Covid-1.

“Plenty of inmates are suicidal or suffering from mental illnesses as a result of living this for five months,” said one prisoner.

Images captured using a smuggled mobile phone show dozens of emaciated men crippled by the Arabian heat lying shirtless in tightly packed rows in small rooms with barred windows.

“One photo shows what appears to be a corpse swathed in a purple and white blanket in their midst. They say it is the body of a migrant who had died of heatstroke and that others are barely getting enough food and water to survive,” writes the newspaper.

“Another image, too graphic to publish, shows a young African man hanged from a window grate in an internal tiled wall. The adolescent killed himself after losing hope, say his friends, many of whom have been held in detention since April,” writes the newspaper.

Some of the published images show big scars on the backs of the migrants, who claim they are beaten by guards who hurl racial abuse at them.

“It’s hell in here. We are treated like animals and beaten every day,” said Abebe, an Ethiopian who has been held at one of the centres for more than four months.

“If I see that there is no escape, I will take my own life. Others have already,” he added via an intermediary who was able to communicate on a smuggled phone.

“My only crime is leaving my country in search of a better life. But they beat us with whips and electric cords as if we were murderers.”

“We eat a tiny piece of bread in the day and rice in the evening. There’s almost no water, and the toilets are overflowing. It spills over to where we eat. The smell, we grow accustomed to.
But there’s over a hundred of us in a room, and the heat is killing us,” said one young Ethiopian man.

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