The village of lost souls - The Libyan Report

The village of lost souls

tens of kilometers from anywhere there is a village called Oussoubidiagna that is inhabited by ghosts. The maps say it is in Mali, in the region of Kayes, in the north-west of the country, but do you know the maps. Without running water or light, or hospital or institute, or factories or shops, its streets flooded by the rain and its mud houses are looming, from time to time, some young people with the gaze lost between the here and the beyond.

Dream of leaving, as did his older brothers, today in France or in Spain, or such as 400 in the past 20 years disappeared in the roads, swallowed up by the earth or by the sea. Mamadou Cissokhó, first mayor that had the village (about 4,000 inhabitants) and today president of the Association of Community Health Felascom, is the only one who has taken the trouble to make the account. All lost, all ghosts, first in the route towards the Canary islands or the gibraltar Strait, now swallowed by the hell of Libya or in the Mediterranean. Behind every Open Arms, every, Aquarius, each drifting boat, jump to the fence or dugout canoe, there are hundreds of Oussoubidiagnas.

When it rains, the streets without pavement of Oussoubidiagna are filled with huge puddles. J. L. R.

With ten years, Habibu Cissokhó already pulled the hoe with a master’s degree and doubled back in the field of peanuts. Two decades later he felt he was becoming old stuck in the same groove. Decided to go to the “adventure”, as they call the journey to leave their homes. “We got together on a beach in Mauritania. We were, I don’t know, 75 or 80 people. There were people from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali. We were scared, but no one wanted to look back,” he recalls. After six days at sea, the island of Gran Canaria. “They killed two,” he adds, as if to say “we went cold,” or “it was windy”, as if it were a circumstance most of the trip. Three weeks later they kicked him out. Return to start.

Habibu Cissokhó has tried the jump twice, on the Canary islands and Libya

just a furious succession of holes and potholes which they call “the track” comes up Oussoubidiagna. To Habibu Cissokhó, become almost a spirit, saw him walk back that road and to reach with his head down. To the groove again. “It is the only economic activity of the people, that and some animals,” says Mamadou Cissokhó, the community leader, the memory of other times. “Before it rained a lot more, had site, the crops flourished in the fields. Now we can not stop the young people, we don’t have anything to offer them,” he adds with bitterness.

Despite being among the first places of production of gold in Africa, Mali (close to 18 million inhabitants), in the heart of the Sahel, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Since 2012 he is involved in a conflict with jihadi groups that have been breaking the social fabric and inter-community, especially in the north and centre, in the region of Mopti. The presence French military and the United Nations at the forefront of this conflict, and the European Union in the training of the malian Army, has not prevented the violence has increased and it has spread, even to neighbouring countries. To Kayes, where it is Oussoubidiagna, it barely reaches the echo of the massacres, but here are also suffering from the weakness of a State bottomless.

In the house of Sanou Sakiliba, 50 years old, listening to the hustle and bustle of daily. Children scamper, the bustle of the food, the people who pass by, and pictures like ghosts in the walls. The shell of this woman is indestructible. His eldest son, Fassara, it was a day. With your help, with the of all. As he was only 16 years old, he forged a passport with two more years so that I could get a visa. Plane to France. Fourteen-year-old has already and is still without papers. Even so, it is a blessing. “We helped build the house and if someone gets sick I call him and send us money,” says Salikiba. In Oussoubidiagna you know it well. There where you have to pay even for an injection, a few tickets are the difference between life and death.

But another son of Sanou Sakiliba wanted to emulate his brother. In 2014, with 26 years, embarked on the road of Europe, which at that moment passed for Libya. “Then he was already married and had two sons, but could not buy nor shoes, nor a simple soap for hand-washing, how to say no if all we wanted your success?”, her mother explains. They knew that he came to the beach and climbed into a boat until it stopped know. Then, nothing. Silence. “One year I was trying to find out, I called all in Libya, to his friends, who saw him, to the traffickers. Until I got tired. Is dead.” Boubalé Cissokhó called the guy, that even the ghosts have a name there for where to walk.

A hospital four hours

The young girls of Oussoubidiagna carry in their heads the food dishes for their parents or husbands who work in the surrounding fields. J. L. R.

In a room only dressed with a rug and two wooden benches, a group of teenagers shelter from the rain this wet season is waning. Kalillu Diallo, representative of the youth in the common council, he explains with his words. “You’re home, your friend or your brother are gone and all speak of them as heroes, with admiration. We know the dangers, we do not hide anything, we know the dead, but it is a bet. Win or die”. The last sentence is left hanging in the air, slips in the eyes of the kids, he walks away, towards the street, wet where they already begin to form huge puddles. Smile. Some years ago, the Government started to build a local for them, the only one in the whole region, but the work was stopped. Don’t know why. Nor asked.

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In the health center, Moriké Dembelé, two years, and fight for your life. Arrived with severe malnutrition complicated with oedema and injury. “He’s improving, thank God,” says dr. Ibrahima Traoré. Her grandmother, Coumba Baradji cares for because their mother must take care of his five brothers. The Spanish NGO médicos del Mundo has identified the health needs in the area and, if you get funding, will launch a support project to the health. A drop in the desert. But it is something. “The severe malnutrition, diarrhea, infections, fevers, typhoid, ulcers, and colic nefríticos due to the high presence of lime in the water are the main emergency department,” says Mamadou Cissokhó. If something is complicated, bad. The nearest hospital is thousand potholes, and four hours away. With rain, we have to wait to spread out.

In the gloom of his room, the sexagenarian Teguida Diallo clings to the only photo she has left of her son Makan Kanoute as a castaway to his table. “He died in the sea,” he says. It is the only thing he knows. That and that with him were many others from Oussoubidiagna. “I think there were 17 in the same boat,” he adds. It was in 2014. The guy was married and had four children. “A heavy load to have to assume, your death multiplied our problems. We survived thanks to the neighbors”, remacha Diallo. In the back room of the “adventure”, the widows and mothers broken they are not left alone. There will always be a plate of food, a place at the table in the home of those who had more luck.

Moriké Cissokhó drag a backpack full of sorrows. Has neither 24 years old, but already we rebuff the scars. A look at his back, when he was beaten in Libya to pay for its release. Others do not see but also painful. “I was two months a prisoner in Bani Walid. I was tortured because they wanted my money. My family was arranged and we were ruined. Since I could not go back and I came to Tripoli. Up to four times I tried it, but we are always surprised by the police”, he says as in a litany. To his side, sitting on a rickety chair three-legged, Mohamed Cissokhó raises his right hand and shows his three fingers amputated. “This reminds me of what they did in Libya,” he says.

In a prison in libya

Habibu Cissokhó, with his wife and two of their children, it has sought to migrate to Europe two times. J. L. R.

Is the designation of that country and change the face. According to the United Nations Agency for Refugees (Unhcr), Libya is the migration route most lethal in the world, a way-station necessary to reach Greece or Italy. Despite the claims of slavery, to the certainty of suffering and torture, the river human, that ends in Tripoli will not stop flowing. Last July there were nearly 650,000 migrants in this african country. “Of course I knew it, I read the news, listen to the companions, what we know. But that is one thing and quite another to live it in your own flesh. If tomorrow they tell me to return to Libya, I don’t. So now I am stuck,” says Moriké Cissokhó.

“I Called everywhere. Is dead,” says a woman on one of its children

To one side of the street, houses of blocks that will note they are old. On the other, huts of mud that touches redo, a corner here, a piece of ceiling there, every time it rains. As it is now. The old man Mamadou Cissokhó takes the word again: “This is the difference. Some have been able to build with the money sent from Europe, dozens of them; others have failed and their families suffer. First, by the loss; second by poverty”. The “adventure” is not the problem, but the misery. According to the Government itself, Mali has more than a million of migrants (1.066.120 in 2017), that is to say, the 6% of the population, the majority in neighbouring african countries, like Ivory Coast or Nigeria. Getting to Europe are big words.

Habibu Cissokhó, who was expelled from Gran Canaria in 2008, he returned to try again in 2015. He first went to Equatorial Guinea, there gathered the money by working as a bricklayer, and then again towards Europe. But it is also met with Libya. “The first ship was wrecked, we were going 130 or so and died half. We were not far from the coast, so I went back to swim”, she says with the stare. “In prison if you don’t pay, you are stuck. We slept on people that died the previous night”, he recalls while you touch your forearms with both hands because he had to be there where he was the smell and the memory.

the ‘crisis of cayucos’ to Libya

From the 1 of January to the 19th of July, 3.959 refugees and migrants had been intercepted or rescued at sea by the Coast Guard libya. The malians are the third largest group (12% of the total), after sudanese and egyptians, according to the UN agency for refugees (Unhcr).

arrivals to Europe dropped sharply in 2018. Nothing to do with the million over entries in 2015, during the so-called refugee crisis (via Greece). The strengthening of border controls in the Aegean deflected the main access routes to Europe, the western Mediterranean (along the Strait) and central (via Malta and Italy). This year, however, Greece has re-registered the largest influx of arrivals (55.348, to October 28, according to Unhcr).

precedent of the current immigration crisis in the western Mediterranean is the so-called crisis of the cayucos in the Canary islands in 2006, with 39,000 arrivals, mostly from sub-saharan africa. So far this year, arrivals in Spain have been reduced by 53.3% with respect to the first ten months of 2018, except in the Canary islands, where there is an increase of 21%, and Ceuta (49,4%), according to data from the Ministry of the Interior.

Libya is the key of the path of the central Mediterranean (to Italy and Malta), and the starting point is more frequent for sub-saharan africa, although not the only one: also depart from Tunisia or Egypt. Since January, according to Unhcr, 2.738 refugees and migrants have come from these shores to Malta, and 9.427, Italy, a record far below the achieved between 2016 and 2018.

he has Already served 41 years. Lives in two rooms hardly no furniture and sleeps on a bed he shares with his wife and their youngest children. “Every day, I see and I horrorizo of thinking that will have the same opportunities to succeed that I had: no”, says Cissokhó with regret. Of time do not go to school. The homework is heavy. The rain falls down again. A procession of young girls were charging, between laughter and games of girls, a few bowls in the head to carry food to those working in the surrounding fields. Those who have not were. Had to go back. The ones that will be some day. Ghosts. source