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Somali doctor pleads for help in viral video after being tortured by Libyan traffickers

Sunday June 9, 2024

A composite photo of Dr. Mahad Garaad Hassan, a Somali doctor held captive by traffickers in Libya. On the left, Dr. Mahad is seen in his medical attire; on the right, he is shown in his current state of captivity. CREDIT: Facebook.

Mogadishu (HOL) — A viral video has emerged showing Somali doctor Mahad Garaad Hassan pleading for help from traffickers in Libya who are demanding a $15,000 ransom—the doctor, visibly injured and distressed, appeals to the Somali community and government for urgent assistance.

In the one-minute-and-thirty-seven-second video, Dr. Mahad describes his harrowing experience: "I am a Somali young man suffering in Libya for five months. I am being tortured and beaten, my hand is broken, and I am electrocuted. My family is poor and cannot afford the $15,000 ransom. In the name of Somali unity, I need you to help me get out of here."

The video has sparked a social media campaign to raise funds and awareness for his release.

Dr. Mahad, an obstetrician and gynecologist, comes from a poor rural family in Beledweyne. According to his friend Yahye Suudi Nageeye, Dr. Mahad's mother passed away a year ago, leaving him the eldest of eight siblings. Dr. Mahad pursued his education in Mogadishu, studying medicine and volunteering in hospitals before officially joining the Somali Doctors Association.

Yahye shared that Dr. Mahad's departure was sudden and unexpected. "We played soccer the night before he left. He told me the next morning that he was travelling to Ethiopia for three days, a plan made the night before," Yahye recounted. After briefly staying in Ethiopia, Dr. Mahad contacted Yahye from Libya, revealing that he had been captured by traffickers. It would be the last time the pair communicated.

Following the video's release, a campaign has emerged on social media to raise funds for Dr. Mahad's release. Many young Somali men and women, driven by poor living conditions and unemployment, embark on dangerous migrations in search of a better life. Unfortunately, many fall into the hands of traffickers and face severe hardships.


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