Approximately 250 Eritrean refugees have been held captive and tortured for the past month by Hamas in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, Italian human rights organization EveryOne Group reported. The organization has issued a statement calling for the Egyptian government to intervene to stop the kidnapping and exploitation of African refugees in Egypt.
"The [Egyptian] authorities have still not carried out any inspections of the locations that have been pointed out to them (in the town of Rafah)," the statement said. "The reason is quite clear… behind the crimes that serve to fund terrorism and to make huge profits for unscrupulous people is a criminal organization so powerful that it is able to challenge and defy governments: the Muslim Brotherhood (the organization Hamas belongs to) and al-Qaida."
Eight of the immigrants were killed and four have gone missing. They were allegedly subjected to human organ harvesting and trafficking, noted the statement. It also said that about 100 of them were transferred to a "concentration camp" at an unknown location. The captives are beaten, the women and children raped. "The prisoners eat poor food and are forced to drink their own urine," the statement said. "Most of the migrants are contemplating suicide."
Kidnappers along the border used these methods to extract ransoms from the refugees' families in their home countries. "According to repeated accounts, groups of approximately 200-300 Eritreans are brought to Sinai where they are held in metal containers or compounds. Captives undergo torture by burning or beating, as smugglers call their relatives demanding the immediate transfer of funds to be guaranteed transit to the Israeli border," the EveryOne Group stated, based on reports by Israeli human rights group Physicians for Human Rights. "Because of the high ransom price, it often takes weeks or even months for refugees to be taken to the border."
EveryOne Group stated that it forwarded on details about the traffickers and called for the Egyptian government to liberate the refugees. However, the Egyptian government has rejected the organization's claims. "These refugees do not exist. It is pure fabrication to bring discredit on Egypt," declared Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul Ghait. Egyptian human rights groups are also pushing the government to intervene on behalf of the refugees.
Hamas' media websites, like http://www.palestine-info.info/ and http://www.qassam.ps/, have not responded to EveryOne Group's allegations..