Yemen: forced march

At home in Ethiopia, the Oromos have nothing. Hundreds of thousands of them migrate to Saudi Arabia, a rich country where they imagine a future.

But the road is long, perilous, impossible. It is practiced on foot, because it cannot pay the smugglers and it is full of pitfalls. The mountains of Galafi, on the border of Djibouti, irradiated by a scorching sun, bring down the most valiant, overwhelmed by thirst.

In Obock, a small, charmless port, migrants are transported at night to overcrowded dhows that face the waves of the Red Sea. And, the ultimate danger: in Yemen, the migration industry is infiltrated by local mafias. There, oromo migrants become prey. The poorest are the most vulnerable. Detoured from the road, struggling with unscrupulous smugglers, they are tortured until their families pay the ransom, sometimes ruined by the sale of all their land to pull a son or daughter from the hell of the torture houses.

From one side of the Gulf of Aden to the other, Charles Emptaz and Olivier Jobard walked with these Ethiopian migrants, driven by a fixed and nagging idea: one day to earn his bread.

From the snippets of this odyssey, they try to reconstruct the story of a deadly crossing, drawing in hollow the portrait of a people transfigured by the ordeal, the Oromos.


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