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Mahabuba Mohamed Bacar, 24

Refugees from Jarso, eastern Ethiopia now living in Nairobi, Kenya.

I fled to escape political harassment. I was arrested with my husband by Ethiopian Security Forces who claimed we were supporters of the 0LF (Oromo Liberation Front). They came during the night and took us from our home, they told us nothing. When we were in prison they said to me, ‘you are washing the OLF soldiers’ clothes during the night and your husband is taking food to them in the bush.’ I still don’t know why they accused us. The only thing I know it that my husband had a small shop selling Khat. He takes the Khat from Badeysa to Dire Dawa and whenever he makes the journey they [Ethiopian Security Forces] claim he was taking things to the OLF and bringing information back.

The prison we were held in was a military camp called Badeysa Adrash. I was four months pregnant at the time. We were badly treated and I lost my baby. I was raped four times by soldiers. They would come at night claiming they were going to interrogate me and then they would take me to another cell where three of them would take it in turns to rape me. After two months we were released.

Under the terms of our release we weren’t allowed to participate in any social gatherings. Our niece had recently died and the local community came to our home to share their condolences, but the security agents saw this as a violation of our release terms. They came to our house to arrest us. Luckily I was in hospital and someone told us that the security agents were searching for us. We left immediately travelling to Moyale by lorry and then from there to Nairobi in a cattle truck.

We arrived in Nairobi on July 28th 2009. We had no idea where to go or what to do. We asked the driver to drop us where we might meet Oromo refugees. He left us near the mosque in Eastleigh. Standing in front of the mosque we heard someone speaking in Oromo. We told the man that we were newcomers and we didn’t know anybody in Nairobi. The man told us that he and his family live in a single room. He offered me a place in his home but said my husband must sleep in the mosque. The man was a shopkeeper and he found a job for my husband, and I started selling coffee. After a month we moved to another place sharing with two other people.

Even with this help life in Nairobi is very difficult. While I was selling coffee one day a man from the Kenyan military came to me and said 'Leave your husband and marry me.' I refused. Since then this man has repeatedly harassed me. He breaks my belongings and threatens to kill my husband and me. He has turned people against us and made life very difficult. Even during the night they are harassing us, causing stress for my husband, threatening him with a knife. We never go out after 5pm.

My baby was born disabled. His head is swelling and his leg is paralysed. The baby has an appointment every week at the hospital but sometimes I can't afford the bus fair, or can't go because of the fear of the military man. I fear for my life, only if I am alive can I talk about the future. I wish I had died before coming to Nairobi.