KHARTOUM, Sudan — He crossed the open plains of the border on foot more than a year ago.
Once inside Sudan, he was picked up by border patrol officers and sent to a crowded, decades-old refugee camp. He stayed there for one month. From there, after paying the equivalent of $500, he was smuggled on a pickup, along with 17 others, into the capital, where he worked for months in a cafeteria and tried lying low, or as he put it, “cooling it.”
Then he got ready for his next move: Libya.
“I know it is dangerous, but I am forced to,” said a nervous Yusuf Muhammad, 27, an Eritrean migrant in Khartoum. “I have no choice. I want to go to Europe or America.”
Thousands of migrants and refugees, especially from neighboring Eritrea and Ethiopia, come to Sudan every year. Many arrive with plans to earn some money and to connect with smuggling networks, making Khartoum a major launching pad for migrants heading to the Mediterranean and, ultimately, to Europe.
“There are people who come here with the sole purpose of moving, stay for a few months, work, gather money and go,” said Renata Bernardo, project coordinator at the International Organization for Migration in Khartoum.
The migrants and refugees say they are escaping harsh political and economic realities in their own countries, and sometimes both. In Eritrea, torture, extrajudicial executions, disappearances, forced labor and sexual violence are widespread and systematic, according to the United Nations, along with an indefinite military conscription system.
“Life is really hard in Eritrea, no freedom, no work,” Mr. Muhammad said.
Ethiopia boasts a fast-growing economy, but the benefits of this growth are not felt widely through the populous country, with more than two-thirds of the population living in severe poverty, according to the United Nations Development Program. The government is widely criticized for political repression and rights abuses.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/29/world/africa/sudan-is-a-waypoint-on-east-africans-trek-to-europe.html