By BosNewsLife Africa Service

There have been several kidnappings in Sinai, where traffickers have attacked especially African refugees, including Christians from Eritrea.

CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Time was running out Thursday, November 22, for an abducted Christian Eritrean man in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula after his kidnappers told him to pay $25,000 or face “organ harvesting” and be killed, he and Christian rights activists said.

“If they don’t get the money, they will kill me in five days,” explained 25-year-old Philemon Semere, who has been held for three months, in published remarks.

Semere is among several refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa, who are abducted and abused by people traffickers in Sinai, added advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in a statement to BosNewsLife.

He escaped from Eritrea, where at least over 2,000 devoted Christians are detained for their faith in prison facilities ranging from shipping containers to military camps, according to human rights groups.

The young man reportedly arrived in the Adi Harish Refugee Camp in Ethiopia in 2010, where he sang in the church choir.


Early in 2012, he traveled to Sudan attempting to reach Israel, but was abducted by Rashaida traffickers and taken to what CSW called “one of several torture and extortion facilities in the Sinai.”

Semere was allegedly beaten and abused regularly by captors who asked him to find $33,000 to ensure his release, or lose a kidney.

“In October, Semere was moved to another facility where he was subjected to electric shock torture, amongst other things. This morning his captors informed him he had five days to either produce $25,000 or lose a kidney,” CSW said.

“Our heartfelt prayers are with Philemon Semere as he faces this horrific ultimatum,” added CSW’s Special Ambassador Stuart Windsor.


“The abduction and torture of human beings for profit and the illegal traffic in their organs is one of the most abhorrent forms of modern slavery and an appalling affront to human dignity,” he told BosNewsLife.

Rights groups began documenting the alleged abduction, torture and extortion of refugees such as Semere in purpose-built facilities in Sinai since 2010.

They say hostages are generally bound for extended periods, deprived of adequate food, given salty drinking water and tortured using extreme methods, including electric shocks and branding.

Friends and relatives are obliged to listen via telephone to their screams and pleas for assistance, according to investigators.


“Women are particularly vulnerable to abuse, including gang-rape. Some hostages have been used as slave labor.  Initially, demands for payment ranged between US$3000 and US$8000, but have increased enormously,” CSW said in its report to BosNewsLife.

When payments are not forthcoming, vital organs are illegally harvested in unhygienic conditions, generally resulting in the death of the person concerned, rights activists say.

Windsor said CSW has urged the Egyptian authorities to act “decisively” to rescue Semere and others in his position, “and to combat trafficking by ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Analysts say security has deteriorated in Sinai since the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, though Egyptian authorities say they are aware of the situation.


Sinai, believed to have been crossed by the Biblical patriarch Abraham and centuries later Israel’s leader Moses followed by Mary, Joseph and Jesus, remains of strategic importance for Egypt.

West of the peninsula lies the Suez Canal, a crucial waterway for global oil shipments and trade from Asia to Europe and beyond.

To the north, Sinai shares a volatile border with Israel and the Gaza Strip, and to the east with Jordan and Saudi Arabia, countries which are of strategic importance to both Egypt and the rest of the region, analysts say.

Windsor stressed that he realized it wasn’t easy for the central government to tackle human trafficking in this fast territory, though activists claim the situation has gotten worse because of the country’s alleged harsh treatment of African migrants trying to enter Egypt.

“We also recognize that trafficking is an international crime that spans national borders, and therefore call for concerted international action to bring this appalling phenomenon to an end,” Windsor said.


  1. we need a group of international rambos to train with machine guns and stuff to go in and snuff out all these groups worldwide, we need to give them fake money with trackers in them and blast the erea where the money goes, we need to not tolorate things like this, this is America the freer of the taken and the revenger of evil

  2. I will pray to phili and i am sure God will do his miracle as he did before in the same land of sina. God is the same yesterday, today and for ever. At last phili believes that there is life after death. He is a man with heavenly hope. Phili will never give his hand and bow to satan, evenif God does not desire to rescue him.God bless you.Henok, from adi-harish refugee camp

  3. Well, we can see , that still the Egyptian Government and Human rights are careless about this issue. A serious action should have been taken.

  4. I will be praying for Philemon Semere and others like him and will be asking many others to pray as well.

    Please join me in taking action by writing to the Egyptian ambassador in Washington, D.C. Here is the contact information:

    H.E. Ambassador MOHAMED M. TAWFIK
    3521 International Ct. Nw Washington DC 20008
    TEL: 202-895-5400
    FAX: 202-244-5131

  5. Dear amb. Tawfik , Since 2010 in the teritory of Egypt what crime is going on over Eritrean people it is known by the authority, yet no action was taken to stop it. This meassures your sovergine statuse and one day you will pay the prise.

  6. i remember the blessed time we had with Philmon @ Evangelical Church of Adiharush. We are still praying ever since. I feel that God will save him from this-valley of death somehow… and God is faithful.
    Henok Ghirmai from Evangelical Church of Adiharush.

  7. dear Eritreans:
    I do not blieve in the human rights group. It is up to the Eritreans to necessary action
    to stop horrible crime. Eritreans should think twice about their situations surrounding them.
    It is the matter of desparate and couragoues action. If the Eritreans expect solutions from others people
    it getting water from the rock. It is time know the five thousand history what has been committed against
    us. There is no way expectations of solutions from others.
    I am deeply sorry


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