(BBC News)― Harun Ahmed is one of thousands of young Ethiopians who have attempted the journey across the Sahara to Libya – and from there to Europe.

He eventually made it to Germany, but only after surviving months of torture and starvation at the hands of three separate slave traders who bought and sold migrants as if they were cattle.

Here, he tells Bekele Atoma from the BBC’s Afaan Oromo service his remarkable story.

Harun, 27, was born in Agarfa, in the province of Bale, some 240 miles (390km) south-east of the capital Addis Adaba.

Bale has some of the highest rates of emigration in Ethiopia and, in 2013, he joined the exodus, pushed by a lack of jobs at home.

First, he traveled to Sudan, before deciding to set out on the next part of his journey to Europe.

“After living a year and a few months in Sudan, I started a journey to Libya with other migrants – paying $600 each to smugglers,” he explained.

“We were 98 on a lorry. People had to sit on top of each other and the heat was unbearable.

“We had encountered a lot of problems on our way. There are these armed people in the desert who stop you all of a sudden and steal everything you have.”

His real troubles began at the border. After six days traveling through the Sahara Desert, the group reached the border of Egypt, Libya and Chad.

It was here the smugglers met to exchange migrants, Harun said. But something went wrong.

“At the border place, a group of gangsters kidnapped us all and took us to Chad,” he said. “They drove us for two days through the Sahara and led us into their camp.”

Continue reading this story at BBC News
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