A Ghanaian man, Shadrack Kevin Darko, who decided to journey through the Libyan Desert to seek greener pastures in Europe, has disclosed the horrors he witnessed prior to him reaching his final destination.
According to Mr Darko, who goes by the username ‘Abrokyire y3 d3’ on Facebook, he will not even wish for his enemies to experience what he witnessed when he decided to use the illegal route to Europe in 2008.
Recounting the reason for his journey, he said he was determined to eradicate poverty from his family because there was no hope for him in Ghana.
Hailing from Kwameseikrom at Drobo, ‘Abrokyire y3 d3’ said he started his journey in the night, where he boarded a car to Techiman, the capital of Techiman Municipal and Bono East Region of Ghana, before he continued to the Burkina Faso border – where all his woes started unfolding.
At the border, he alleged that the customs officers took a charge from each Ghanaian resident leaving the Libyan and Nigerien citizens to carry on the journey to Niamey, the capital and largest city in Niger.
At the Niger border, they were charged again, he said, adding that, “every two kilometres there were checkpoints where we had to pay money or get down from the bus. At a point you will be whipped or caned if you don’t want to pay or have no money.
“The collection of money starts from the Ghana border. Nigeriens don’t pay anything at the border. But at the Niger border we are charged again until we got to Libya.
“At a point, one of the soldiers asked me to take off my Timberland boots if I could not pay what they were asking of us,” he added.
“The number of people who use the route in a day is over 2,000, comprising people from different countries in Africa,” he said.
He continued that the journey from Agadez, a market town at a crossroads, 460 miles (740 km) northeast of Niamey, to Qatrun, a village in the Murzuq District in southern Libya before reaching Tripoli, the capital and largest city of Libya, is as daunting as ever. “They can use iron road to lash you. They don’t even respect black people,” he recounted.
The Ghanaian immigrant said the part of his journey that got things worse was when their boat developed a fault across the Mediterranean Sea on their fateful journey to Europe.
‘Unfortunately, we were rescued by Libyan soldiers and that was not a good thing because they were going to lock all of us up, so we had to run for our lives by falling into the water to swim. There was even a pregnant Nigerian woman with us.
“They didn’t let us escape freely, hence they started shooting at us so with the little military experience I had on my first trip to Israel, I crawled my way out.”
Mr Darko said this wasn’t his first trip to seek greener pastures outside Ghana. He made the first attempt to Israel, where he was recruited into their army but he was later fished out for lying about his age so he was sent to prison until he returned to Ghana.
On his return to Ghana, he bagged himself for the Europe journey, which gave him the haunting experience he has ever seen in life.
On the Libyan Desert, Mr Darko said he lost his Nigerian brother to the heat of the scorching sun.
“He was my best friend. And we were all going in for money. The sun had scorched him too much, so blood was oozing from his nose. It was as if it had choked him, and he couldn’t breathe. We did all we could, but he couldn’t survive. And if you are suffering, no one will help you on the journey.
“I was the only one who buried him. Everyone was suffering from fatigue. We used our hands to dig. The [Muslim] drivers were praying, so we had the chance to rest for a while. But I had to go back and dig deeper to bury him completely. That was a point where I felt like I should have stayed in Ghana. You will see plenty of people dead on the deserts,” he recounted.
“I still have nightmares and see him in my sleep. I had never seen a dead body before until it happened, and that really shocked me.”
Mr Darko, in an interview with Adomonline.com, said he will never advise anyone to use the route he used because it has the highest tendency to result in death.
Talking about his motive of sharing his daily videos on Facebook, he said it is his subtle way of reminding Ghanaians that they do not have a good system to improve their standards of living.
According to him, the system of democracy and the politicians’ agenda don’t enforce the basic things that will boost the lives and careers of the citizens who voted them into power.
“The videos I make on Facebook go beyond that. It is actually a project that I am embarking on to preach and make people aware of what happens there. Soon I will come out fully to lay my vision to stop people from embarking on such a trip,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said he will patronise the route for a million lifetimes if the system of Ghana continues to favour the higher class than those below.
“I will not advise anyone to use that route, but if I am deported a thousand times I will still use that route to get back to Europe. Not only that, but I will rather die in the journey than suffer in Ghana. Likewise, I want to make it in life on my own. I don’t want to be dependent on anyone,” Mr Darko said.
Mr Darko is currently living and working in Germany. After three unsuccessful attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea, he finally landed in Lampedusa, one of the Pelagie Islands, in the Mediterranean Sea, southern Italy before he entered Europe circa 2009.