Spotted my sister in a video of Sudanese war refugees.

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Poignant twist of fate, Mihret Gebru recently found herself scrolling through two viral videos on her smartphone, both showcasing horrifying scenes of individuals from the Horn of Africa being subjected to brutal treatment by armed forces in war-torn Sudan. Her concern quickly turned to anguish when she spotted her own sister among the captives.

Hailing from Eritrea, both sisters had fled the country’s oppressive indefinite military conscription, seeking refuge in neighboring Ethiopia in 2019. However, like many others living in a state of limbo as refugees, Luwam embarked on a perilous journey to Libya last year, passing through Sudan amidst escalating conflict between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

We went weeks without hearing from her until she managed to call briefly from Sudan, reassuring us of her safe arrival and hopeful journey to Libya, Mihret recounted.

Their hopes were shattered when, in April, videos emerged on social media depicting foreign nationals detained by Sudanese forces. NWOOW News’s analysis of the footage, uploaded on April 7th and 8th, revealed a harrowing reality: a Sudanese army general referred to approximately 50 detainees, including Luwam, as “mercenaries” from Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. They were captured fleeing clashes near the al-Jaily oil refinery, north of Khartoum.

Photographs from the incident showed Luwam and others packed into a warehouse, with her distinctive orange scarf clearly visible. Mihret, who also recognized a neighbor from Eritrea among the detainees, expressed profound frustration over the lack of information.

The anguish doesn’t end with Luwam’s family. NWOOW News spoke with other Eritreans who have relatives missing and reportedly held by Sudanese forces. Among them were Yonatan Tesfaslassie, 17, and Edmon Kidane, 20, who arrived at a UN refugee camp in Kassala state last October.

According to their families, Yonatan and Edmon were approached by smugglers offering a passage out of Sudan, only to be abandoned en route, resulting in their separation. They were last seen in Wad Madani, Gezira state, a city that had provided refuge until December, when RSF forces took control amid chaotic scenes that displaced over 300,000 people.

Adiam Kidane, Edmon’s sister residing in Angola, expressed frustration at the lack of information.

As families endure the agony of not knowing the fate of their loved ones, they cling to hope for answers and the safe return of those detained. The ongoing conflict in Sudan has not only displaced thousands but also ensnared innocent migrants and refugees in a dire humanitarian crisis.

NWOOW News continues to monitor developments closely, shedding light on the plight of those caught in the crossfire of geopolitical tensions and conflict in the region. As global attention turns to humanitarian crises, the stories of Luwam, Yonatan, Edmon, and countless others serve as stark reminders of the human cost of war and displacement.

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