Christians in the Horn of Africa are captured and ransomed. If the ransom is not paid, the captors harvest organs to make a profit off the kidnapping. Why are Christians targeted for this cruel treatment?
11/23/2012 Eritrea (BosNewsLife) - Time was running out Thursday, November 22, for an abducted Christian Eritrean man in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula after his kidnappers told him to pay $25,000 or face “organ harvesting” and be killed, he and Christian rights activists said.
“If they don’t get the money, they will kill me in five days,” explained 25-year-old Philemon Semere, who has been held for three months, in published remarks.
Semere is among several refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa, who are abducted and abused by people traffickers in Sinai, added advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in a statement to BosNewsLife.
He escaped from Eritrea, where at least over 2,000 devoted Christians are detained for their faith in prison facilities ranging from shipping containers to military camps, according to human rights groups.
The young man reportedly arrived in the Adi Harish Refugee Camp in Ethiopia in 2010, where he sang in the church choir.
TRYING REACHING ISRAEL
Early in 2012, he traveled to Sudan attempting to reach Israel, but was abducted by Rashaida traffickers and taken to what CSW called “one of several torture and extortion facilities in the Sinai.”
Semere was allegedly beaten and abused regularly by captors who asked him to find $33,000 to ensure his release, or lose a kidney.
“In October, Semere was moved to another facility where he was subjected to electric shock torture, amongst other things. This morning his captors informed him he had five days to either produce $25,000 or lose a kidney,” CSW said.
“Our heartfelt prayers are with Philemon Semere as he faces this horrific ultimatum,” added CSW’s Special Ambassador Stuart Windsor.
ALLEGED ABDUCTION, TORTURE
“The abduction and torture of human beings for profit and the illegal traffic in their organs is one of the most abhorrent forms of modern slavery and an appalling affront to human dignity,” he told BosNewsLife.
Rights groups began documenting the alleged abduction, torture and extortion of refugees such as Semere in purpose-built facilities in Sinai since 2010.
They say hostages are generally bound for extended periods, deprived of adequate food, given salty drinking water and tortured using extreme methods, including electric shocks and branding.
Friends and relatives are obliged to listen via telephone to their screams and pleas for assistance, according to investigators.
WOMEN ESPECIALLY TARGETED
“Women are particularly vulnerable to abuse, including gang-rape. Some hostages have been used as slave labor. Initially, demands for payment ranged between US$3000 and US$8000, but have increased enormously,” CSW said in its report to BosNewsLife.
When payments are not forthcoming, vital organs are illegally harvested in unhygienic conditions, generally resulting in the death of the person concerned, rights activists say.