The horror of life in the clutches of ISIL has been described by a 12-year-old girl, one of a group of Eritrean female captives of the extremists to have been freed by pro-government forces in Libya.
The 11 migrants were in the country on their way to Europe about a year and a half ago when they were seized by so-called Islamic State.
“The men used to rape us and we couldn’t do anything,” the unidentified girl said, wearing a veil.
“If we refused, they tied us down with ropes and then raped us again, and we were powerless. They did whatever they wanted to us and then sold us or threatened to hand us over to other people.
“I prayed for death because death would have been better than living with ISIL. That is why we jumped from the third floor of the building.”
She said she suffered minor injuries and her mother, who joined her in the suicide attempt, broke her legs.
Never expecting their ordeal to end, the girl is happy to be free but fears for the future.
“We entered Libya illegally through the desert and this is another problem in and of itself. I wish the world could find a solution to our problems. We want to head to Europe to keep ourselves safe, and I hope that if the world can see our suffering, they will help us,” she said.
The female captives were freed on Saturday, with a Turk and an Egyptian, amid fighting to recapture part of the city of Sirte from ISIL.
After a six-month campaign backed by US air strikes, Libyan forces have taken back most of Sirte, although the jihadists are holding out with snipers, booby-traps and car bombs.
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