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Libya Crisis: Rayana, Razan and Ahmed

Rayana (seven), Razan (nine) and Ahmed (four) in a transit camp on the Libya-Tunisia border

Rayana, Razan and Ahmed were born in Libya where their parents, originally from Darfur in Sudan, lived and worked for many years. Suddenly they were forced to flee their home and everything they knew because of the violent conflict in Libya. Now they’re living in a temporary camp in Tunisia with their parents, waiting to be flown back to Sudan.

They were living in Tripoli where Rayana and Razan went to a school for Sudanese children. But the school closed at the end of February because of the protests and demonstrations. The children heard the demonstrations in the streets of Tripoli and told me they heard the “ta ta ta” of gun shots. Rayana said the gun shots didn’t scare her, even though her mother was scared. Razan said: “When I heard the gunshots I was scared and I thought that some of them might coming flying in [to the house]”.

Rayana and Razan’s families had always felt welcome in Libya and had good relationships with their Libyan neighbours until the recent crisis. But after allegations surfaced that Gaddafi’s regime was bringing in African mercenaries, their neighbours started treating them with suspicion. They no longer felt safe and the women worried that when their husbands went out of the house, they might not return.

Me with Rayana and Ahmed in their tent

When their parents decided to leave Libya to go to Tunisia for the safety of the family, Rayana and Razan had to pack their belongings very quickly. They packed for themselves, mainly clothes. Rayana forgot to pack her teddy bear and now she misses it a lot. Both of them miss their toys and going to school. Rayana wants to be a doctor when she is older and so does Razan, or maybe an engineer.

Their mothers are adamant that they won’t return to Libya, but they’re also concerned about what kind of life awaits them in Sudan and how long they will have to wait in the camps.

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