Some 3,000 sub-Saharan Africans are stranded in camps at the Tunisian border with
Many had been detained while they were in
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has been working in the camps for several months, offering medical and psychological care, and collecting testimonies such as this one:
Emmanuel, 15, and Jacob, 3, from Nigeria, lost their mother after a boat she was on capsized on its way to Italy.
"We were living with our mother in Libya for the past five years. She owned a hair salon in Tripoli.
When the crisis began in Libya, everything was destroyed. We decided to flee the war and cross the Mediterranean Sea to start a new life in Italy, where one of our uncles lives.
We took a ship at the end of May, but our trip went badly wrong. We spent six days lost in the sea without food or water. Some people drank sea water. People started dying.
After six days, the ship hit a rock and capsized. Tunisian fishing boats saw us and two bigger ships came to our rescue, but it was already too late for many of us.
I was wearing a life jacket and managed to swim, holding my little brother Jacob. But my mother did not wear one. We cannot find her.
We were taken to the port of Sfax and brought to the Tunisian-Libyan border. There, we received food, water and clothes.
But we want to find our mother. We don't know where she is.
Now we live in a camp, the two of us. We don't know where our father is. Our parents divorced a few years ago. He may be in Egypt. We have an uncle in Italy, maybe they can help us to get there. At least our lives would be okay there.
Jacob doesn't understand what is going on. When he asks about his mother, I tell him she went to the market and has yet to return. That's the only way I find to calm down his mind. He wants to see his mother.
We cannot go back to Nigeria. There is nobody to take care of my little brother there. I want to go to Italy, because that is where we have a person."
Mouhaydin, 27, from Somalia, was working as a laborer and a cleaner in Libya. He arrived in Shousha in March. His wife died on a boat to Europe.
"I left Somalia in 1994 because of the war. When my father was killed, my family fled to Ethiopia. They still live there. I am the eldest child and need to support my family. I decided to go to Libya and beyond, to find work and build a future.
I arrived in Libya eight years ago. I was working as a laborer and a cleaner. Life was difficult. We were treated like slaves.
When the war broke out, the situation became very frightening for foreigners. I had to flee this country too.
I arrived in Shousha camp on March 6, with my wife. We got married in Libya. She was three months pregnant. One day, she decided to return to Libya with a group of people who convinced her to take a boat to Europe. I saw her one morning, and never saw her again. She died on a sinking ship on April 5.
I am very sorry she didn't tell me of her plans. I have been deeply sad since. I try to occupy my mind not to think. I have difficulties sleeping at night.
I keep myself busy working as a volunteer for Medecins Sans Frontieres, responsible for the registration of patients seeking medical care. In Somalia, I worked for eight years with MSF before the war. I am also a translator from Somali to French, as there are many Somalis in the camp who need assistance.
Life in the camp is becoming increasingly difficult, in particular since the incidents in May. Tents were burnt down and violent clashes killed and injured a number of refugees. For children, the living conditions are even tougher.
I have an uncle in Canada. I hope he can help me. I need to find a solution, a small place in a country where I can live in peace, and finally have a future."
Abdul, 23, spent four months in a desert prison in Libya before escaping to Shousha camp on the Tunisian border. Fearing insecurity in Shousha, he says he is ready to go back to Libya.
"I have seen too many dead people in my country. When I was 15, I was left to live in the streets. I cannot talk about my life in Ivory Coast. Even my friends don't know about my story.
I left Ivory Coast in 2008. I traveled through many countries to escape my own.
When I arrived in Libya, the military arrested me and brought me to prison, in the middle of the desert. There were hundreds of us there. Every day, people were dying.
I spent three months and 30 days in prison. I was beaten every day. For three weeks, I could not stand up. I still suffer from my injuries. I had to bury seven people, including three pregnant girls. If you did not do it, you were thrown alive in the hole along with the corpses.
At times, we were given only five liters of salty water for hundreds of prisoners. We had to drink it drop by drop. We did not have enough to eat. But we were not allowed to complain. We had to hide our diseases, or we risked further beating. There was not even enough space for us to sleep; we were crammed inside a room too small. There was no toilet.
It is a miracle I am still alive. I never thought I would see light again. I was looking at people dying, the brutality, the violence. I was waiting for my turn.
One night, there was a desert storm. The prison's ceiling was shaking. We managed to break out of prison. Policemen chased us with land cruisers and dogs. But I managed to escape and spent three days walking in the Sahara.
I will never forget one of the prisoners, a Gambian man. His foot had been broken and he could not escape. He was crying for help. But we were between life and death. Everyone had to try to save their lives.
When I arrived in the city of Sabah, I met a fellow Ivoirian. He helped me. I could not do anything for months. I was sick, I was having nightmares. It was very difficult.
Life in Libya was hard. We were robbed repeatedly. They broke our door, they took our papers. We had no rights. It is a lawless country.
I have been in Shousha camp for four months now. During the May incidents in the camp, I saw more than 15 people injured while some people died. I was injured in the foot by a tear gas shell. I fear for my security here, too.
We lead the life of tramps here. Some of us have gone back to Ivory Coast. Some have returned to Libya. I cannot go home. If I could, I would not stay in this camp. I prefer dying in Libya than dying here. I am ready to go back, even if I die.
Fonte: Medici Senza Frontiere