Author Archive for Ben Gittleson

Want to Know More About the Eritrean Kidnapping Crisis? Watch This Film.

“Please, Meron, my sister, hurry up, hurry up! Please! Rescue us tonight!” one hostage desperately pleads from captivity in an African desert, in a phone call to Meron Estefanos, an Eritrean activist and journalist in Sweden. “If I get out of this hell, it’ll be like being born again,” another caller says.
Estefanos hosts a weekly [...]

How an African Kidnapping Crisis Has Terrorized D.C.’s Eritrean Immigrants

The phone call came from eastern Sudan, just as the grocer reached the corner of U and 9th streets NW on a spring day three years ago.
The man spoke clearly in Mebrahtialem Gebrekidan’s mother tongue, Tigrinya, the language of his native Eritrea. Your nephew is being held captive, the voice told him. Pay us $7,000 and [...]