"We have identified the hideout of Abu Musa, the most ruthless, powerful and well-organized Bedouin smuggler of human beings operating in Egyptian Sinai."
The announcement was made by Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of the human rights group EveryOne. "Abu Musa is currently holding 59 Eritrean migrants hostage in two rooms (37 in one, 22 in the other). In the room with 37 refugees, aged between 17 and 38 (with whom we are in constant telephone contact) there are 8 women, some of them pregnant.
The hideout they are being detained in is situated in Ferah, a village near Mount Sinai, just an hour's drive from Israel, in the St Katherine Protectorate of South Sinai. After speaking directly to the hostages themselves, and the uncle of one of the migrants who lives in Germany and acts as interpreter for us in the Tigrinya language," say the activists," and thanks to investigations in the area, we now know the exact location where the Eritreans are are being held, chained up in an underground shipping container three and a half metres deep.
The main structure is similar to a hotel surrounded by tukuls. It has two red entrance doors and is guarded round the clock by four armed men. There are three other modern buildings with red roofs under construction nearby. Abu Musa lives in a three-storey house not far from the hideout, with a warehouse at the back, a pine tree and several prickly pears. To get about, the traffickers drive a 2011 Toyota pick-up (probably a Toyota Cruise).
The vehicle is white and blue with a red stripe, and a number 5726 licence plate. "The co-presidents of EveryOne Group have also sent the Egyptian and international police a profile of the trafficker and a possible photo of the smuggler, picked out by the hostages: "Abu Musa is between 45 and 50 years old, he is lean and swarthy and is related to the Muzeina Bedouin tribe.
Originally from Wadi Saal he speaks English and works as a tourist guide in the desert with his father and brothers. His friends and family call him "Samih" or "El Baah" which in the Bedouin dialect means “The Deep One”. He is respected by the local community and considered one of the best guides in the whole of Southern Sinai .Youssuf, Abu Musa's 19-year-old brother, has already killed at least 4 migrants. Three young men of 18 were murdered at 7 pm on November 9th and another young man last night. Another prisoner was taken away by the traffickers some days ago and has not been heard of since.
EveryOne Group reports episodes of beatings and torture of the detained migrants every day. A 22-year-old was given electric shocks to his feet and is now paralyzed, another had his little finger amputated, while the remaining prisoners have been burned on the back with molten plastic. The women have been repeatedly raped and burned with cigarette ends. All prisoners have infected wounds.
"The latest threat is that if the prisoners' families do not pay the ransom very soon (with sums that vary from between 25 and 30,000 dollars per person) the refugees will be killed. We are launching an urgent appeal to the Egyptian police, but also to the United Nations and the European Union" write EveryOne Group in a report sent to all the Egyptian diplomatic missions throughout the world. "We are asking that Abu Musa be immediately arrested, and the young African migrants released and protected according to their fundamental rights to life, health and freedom."