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ISIS militia kidnap group of Eritreans in Libya

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 7, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – A group of Eritrean refugees have reportedly been kidnapped by members of the Islamic State (ISIS)-affiliated militants in Libya.

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Map of the prospective Islamic state released by the ISIS

The Stockholm-based International Commission on Eritrean Refugees (ICER) said 86 Eritrean refugees, 12 women and children, were kidnapped outside the capital, Tripoli.

On Wednesday, the militants reportedly ambushed a vehicle carrying Eritreans as they traveled to Tripoli and took hostage Christian after separating them from the Muslims.

Meron Estafanos, the co-founder of ICER said although nearly all members of the group lied to be Muslims for fear of kidnapping, the militants had to separate Muslims from their Christians counterparts based on their knowledge of the Koran and prayer habits.

Estefanos, a Swedish-Eritrean activist, was speaking based on information obained from eyewitnesses and refugees who managed to escape from the ISIS militants.

She said at least nine Eritreans have escaped the latest IS kidnapping and more details are expected to be revealed in coming few days.

Most of those kidnapped are said to be from Adi Keih town in Eritrea, whose people are known for their opposition to the "dictatorial" regime in Asmara.

Every month, thousands of Eritreans flee to neighboring countries mostly Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti to escape political oppression.

Once they arrive in Sudan, most Eritreans reportedly cross to Libya from the north African nation and take dangerous routes via sea to continue to Europe, mostly to Italy.

According to the UN, an estimated 22% of the total who entered Italy by boat in 2014 was from Eritrea.

Eritreans take dangerous sea routes to Europe for lucrative jobs, but many don’t make it.

The latest kidnappings comes less than two months after ISIS militants mass killed Ethiopian Christian migrants in Libya.

In April, the ISIS terrorist group in Libya posted on social media sites a 29-minute long shocking video showing the beheading and shooting of 30 Ethiopian Christian migrants.

(ST)

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