Mussie Zerai – Eritrean Catholic priest assisting refugees in Libya and at sea

Here is a short AFP article about Father Mussie Zerai who is in frequent contact by satellite phone with African refugees in Libya and with those who are in the process of leaving Libya:  “A few steps away from St Peter’s Basilica, an Eritrean Catholic priest is on the phone with boats in the middle of the Mediterranean filled with African refugees fleeing Libya.  Mussie Zerai receives calls from satellite phones on the boats and co-ordinates the arrival of hundreds of Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis with Italy’s coast guard and the NATO warships imposing a naval embargo on Libya….”

Click here for article.

Father Zerai’s organisation’s blog:

UPDATE:  If you have information about a family member or friend who may be on a boat or if you are seeking information, please consider contacting the Agenzia Habeshia per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo in Italy at this email address: .

UPDATE: Click here for 19 April 2011 BBC article.


Filed under Eritrea, Italy, Libya, Mediterranean, News

50 responses to “Mussie Zerai – Eritrean Catholic priest assisting refugees in Libya and at sea

  1. jemila abdela

    i want know aguy name is abrham w biruk that in bot?

  2. Anonymous

    i want know aguy name wandosen lulu gethon is in that bot?

  3. Anonymous

    is there any girl by name magret tushar among the refugees

  4. even me i have my brother and i did not seen him mey be 10 years and this my namber plz 004747168355. he was in 22 march 2011 plz tell som things good jus i waiting

  5. ben

    dear brothers and sisters i have a brother whom i dont have any contact his name is radea gebrebrhan if any one know or seen him please let know at

  6. do u know any person called Magret Tushar

  7. hagush

    Dear every one ,as we know MAMMAR KEZAFI was died,so is thereany latest news about theso 335 eritrean who died in liba y on last march .please at list we went to know who done the action?

    • frances prewitt

      Who can we contact to know if any further information regarding the 335 people who left on the boat on March 22 and were never heard of again?
      Why has there been no news? Moreover, have the Eritreans and other East Africans in prison in Libya now been released? I search the internet daily, but find no information the subject. I know many Eritreans in Austin who desperately need information about their loved ones last seen in Libya.

  8. hagush

    to those who murrder in the libya relatives,is there any news who done the action?
    This is a special time to us to ask about those who missed,as Kezafi gone I beg at list who done the action .

    • Anonymous

      NATO is killing them but they want say NATO is going to get the responsiblity of killing.

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  10. Alex

    These people took their chances when that got on a boat.. Okay? I mean, yeah, it’s pretty safe now that you have a “Father Mussie Zerai has contacts with migrants and people traffickers across North Africa”.. How great is that, he’s helping traffickers!! Why wouldn’t we help fixing all their problems once and for all and move the population of Africa to Europe once and for all? think about it for a moment, it’s impossible to help them, cause each and every one of them will choose Europe over staying home, so do we move ’em all?

    • frances prewitt

      These Eritreans and Somalians were working as domestic servants in Libya when the Libyan revolution started. They were harassed and abused by both warring sides…each warring side wanting them on their side. The workers didn’t want to fight for either side…they felt in danger…they tried to leave.

  11. frances prewitt

    Where is the news about the 335 people who left Libya on March 22, 2011?
    Why are these people forgotten?
    What happened?
    I am trying to help an Eritrean in Austin, Texas whose brother was on this boat.
    Please call or email me if you have any information.
    There is no news on this.
    Jayne Prewitt

  12. hagush

    who murder thos more than 335 people any news about those people?
    I disopointed why the world didnt interest about those people?any way any latest news about those?

  13. kuku

    I even lost my bro whose name is michael kifly so please if any one knows where they are or if he knows what really happens to them please tell us some thing if you do know ………………..

  14. Haile

    Hi everybody, We have been told the death of our brothers and sisters in the Mediterannean Sea. It has left left a scar on our mind. It is known that there is a lot of problem in Eritrea, but it is wise to give proper information to our family members in the country before they decide to leave their country. Europe is not a paradise. It is not worth putting our lives in danger to arrive in Europe. We should not put their lives in risk. The main party responsible for this crime is the Eritrean Government and we are also responsible on some part for this crime. Anyway we have to be alert not to repeat the same error in the futre. May God help our people to make good decision in their everyday lives.

  15. hagush

    to who all consernd please we need any news about those eritrean 335 people ,please any one who knows about them I need some information I have my brother with them.
    I hear bad news,but hard to belived it.

  16. where is this cuntry coming to, when are we gone have seat with our family and have fun like all the other contries doing, what is the meaning of 20th year of freedom if you still have tears in your eyes and family of you sleeping some where in the dead sea of this earth, i want the govenment to answer all this question for me, i love my country and i love my people the most, and i and other 1000 of people are waiting for answers

  17. Jack

    I am very sad today to hear the tragedy of the lose of our young Eritreans in the Mediteranean Sea. It is very shame to people who made this to happen. May god help all the people who lost part of thier close family. Also my condolance to the Erirean people. Oh God may you bring peace to all Eritreans, Amen.

  18. mihreteab


  19. Desta

    Hi Anonymous,
    I am glad you received good news about your brother. Please would you help people like me who have been eagerly waiting for any news since the 22nd of March? Please I beg you to do all the necessary information available on line so that we could put to rest our beloved ones and tell our parents either the good news what we are wishing for or the sad news we fear most. Let me put some details of the boat which reported left from Tagera (near Tripoli) either on the 21st night or 22nd morning of March. The boats name is MUSIRA with plate number 1276, blue colure bottom and white colure top. According to a telephone contact which I made today with one Eritrean person from Tripoli, the boat had around 335 people excluding children. 12-15 children and 315 or 320 Eritreans, 10-15 Ethiopians. However, this is not confirmed information although the person I spoke on the phone is believed to be the middle man for sending the people. According to other sources I have got today, there are three boats reported missing. One is reported to be hit by an unknown side, one is completely missing and the third has got technical problem and is been held by some ship owners possibly from western countries in the Mediterranean sea.

  20. abel

    hi Anonymous ,
    was your brother with the boat which carried 335 pple?plz replay for me i want to ask him to your brother the name of tsion haile?
    thank you for your helps.

  21. Anonymous

    i didnt find any contact of my siter

  22. Haile

    Hi all of you who have been writing on this concerning the missing of our beloved brothers, sisters, close family members and friends on the Mediterannean Sea. It is really tragic and sad to learn their death. It is not easy to bear the pain of losing ones beloved one. Every day we are confronted with endless problems. Especially at this time of the end, we expect more and more problems to emerge, for the Bible at 2Timothy 3: 1 say : “in the last days there will be critical times hard to deal with…”. What we need to find as a solution geared to fight the root causes rather than to try to heal the symptoms. We have to change our thinking and our perception. We should not be in haste. We do not expect justice from the international community. They come to help us only if they see some interest that they can get from us. Look, what they are doing in Iraque, in Afghanistan, and they have not taken any lesson from these two countries. They adding fuel to the conflict in Libya. The problems are, they themselves, if they had kept their hands off we would have quite a different world, at least much better than now. But our firm hope is on God. The kingdom of God will crush all Human Governments (Daniel 2: 44). and God will wipe out every tear from our eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore, the former things have passed away (Revelation 21: 4). May God comfort all of us who are now in mourning. And we thank all those who had done their best to try to find especially Aba mussie Zerai, and others like Elsa Chirum.
    May God help all of to endure our mourning

  23. hahush

    oooooooooooooo please any information we are in big fear and worry,unclear new.please any news?

  24. Anonymous

    ooooooooooooooooooooo please any news we worry toooooooooooooooooo?any information?

  25. mesgana semere

    Hi everyone,
    I am desperate to know any updated news on the 335 people who were reported missing after leaving Libya particularly from around Tripoli. There are unconfirmed news that some are in hospital in Tripoli. Any news further than this could help. I rung someone in Tripoli and got no good news but he said he will be going to the Eritrean embassy tomorrow. Please lets help each other as this is the tragedy time of our beloved ones. If anyone is reported alive let me know as I have my brother who left with the same boat on the 22/03/2011 from Tagera (Libya). May the almighty God help us to hear good news in the coming days. God bless you all.

    • Ansel Aguirre

      today is April 20, 2011. What news have you heard about the 335 Eritreans and Ethiopians on the boat which departed on March 22 from Libya. I don’t understand why there have been no updates on this horrible event.

      Ansel in Austin, Texas, friend of Mesgana

  26. mesgana semere

    hello i am Efrem Semere’s sister and i want to know if you have any news on Efrem. my family are worried we have no news on the 335 people who left libya on the 22/03/11. we want to know if every one is safe and they can make it to italy.

  27. hagush

    please any news about the missing boats?we worry toooooo.
    any news please,335 and 68 people ,to found as this timeas the technology is high,why didnt saw those people NATO,please helpe to ave their life,today is 13 day

  28. Anonymous

    they are our brothers and sisters .so lets just pray for them and hopefully they might get some help from the international organization and save their lives.i am very greatful to God that i just recieved a call from my brother that he got in italy on the 29th of march,and i wish all the others too the same and join thier families as well.

    • yosief semere

      Hi please please can you help me , i have been told my brother was on the boat of 335 people i need to no thankyou . Or please can you tell me the names of the people on the boat .

  29. hagush

    We are in big worry about those people,where are they?to day 13 days in sea
    at this tim e as the technology increase,why world ,why NATO do not know where are they?
    please please help those people,please help to save their life.All people who interset about life please save those 335in one boat and 68 in the other which miss last,those are all Civian.please please save life.we are waiting new information about those people.

  30. Haile

    The story of a boat carrying 335 eritreans has remained a puzzle until now. I wonder why these much people on board were not able to call for aide to concerned bodies. Could we say that they are not alive and their disappearance was in in a blink of an eye? Or they could it be that they were not equipped with a telephone? I think each of them had paid 3500 dollar to middleman (Abdelrezak). Since this amount was paid before many years and because it is widely perceived that these people could pay as much as they demanded to save their saves, I think maybe they might have been caught by bandits in the Sea who have connection with those who sent them. It could be true that they left Libya on 22 march. Or else the middleman has scattered rumours that they are in danger before they start their in order to get proper attention to these people who would be in danger as the weather this time is not good. There are a lot of questions we could pose in connection with the 335 people on board. Friends do not get discouraged let us wait for sometime maybe they will tell us to pay them thousands if they are holding them as hostages ( similar to the story of Sinai).

  31. tsenai tesfamicheal

    hi every one lat’s hope and pray to god those 330 people are missing for 3 week

  32. Haile

    We hope that if there is sincere effort from the international community to help these distressed people, some lives would be saved. Even the life of one person is so precious, let alone the soul of more than 330 people. If their boat is really big one, I am sure their lives would be saved. We are passing sleepless night waiting to hear from them. Maybe God be with them and may he give us the courage and hope until we hear their good news.

  33. hagush

    please our fear increase, no news about those people Please NATO,world save life and tell us where are those people.

  34. elias

    any clear information about the 335 almost eritreans which fled from libya on 22/03/ 2011

  35. abel

    These people are in real danger of death,I have sister and lots of friends with them so i am begging to all eritreans to co-oparate with this matter very soon, already they spent many days at the sea with out any food and water,I hope GOD will be with them.

  36. Anonymous

    any clear information about 335 eritreans which fled from libya 22/03/2011

  37. hagush

    we are worring more our fear increase from mimut to minut,a bats are missing in the sea which cary 335 and the other 67 almost two week know no information about them,those people are start from libya to europ,so please save those people,we need even the direction of the sea where they are? please please please to hum it concerned and interest about life.
    please help them they in danger,I so diappoint,as the technology is increase,how the people miss ?please help them

  38. Ben

    Hi All,

    Any news on the boad with 335 mostly eritrean?

  39. Haile

    My brother is also with the boat. We are a lot worried for their life. I am not sure if the following coordinate is where they were when they called. Maybe it could also be a coordinate of another boat in similar situation. But the offline message I got is here:
    28.03.2011 17:05:04): A boat carrying Eritrean People depating from Libya to Italy is about to sink. I have recived information that there are about 400 poeple on board. The engine of the boat failed to function. The poeple are about 30 miles from Libya in the see. Their exact location is 33 28 N and 13 28 E. So far i have informed the UNHCR in Canada and in Genva and through a friend Italian and the UK governemtns, and UN (NATO) have been notified about this situation. No one has rescued them till this minute but the situation is being monitored by the rescue team that have been informed so far. I need help from Evry eritrean in diporara. Please call the UNHCR or inform media or in do something in anyway if you can help to save the lives of these poeple. The People need an URGENT help”

  40. hagush

    I have my brotherswho travel from libya to italy by the sea today 10 day we didnt get an news where he was there are also other with him 335 people,so please all of them are eritrean so please help them andwe need to know where are those people?

    • Anonymous

      dear brothers i have my sister i don’t have contact for last since 3 weeks here name is selamawit zerea she is 28 . i try to call to her cell phone is not work ,,,,,, so please she is eritrean so please help them and i need to know where she is ?

      • simon

        but there is something which is not clear for me, those who are died inthe sea are those of 68 or 335?if those who are concerned can take the photos of those immigrants,why they can not have any iformation about them,it is something incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    • dave

      dear brothers i have my sister i don’t have contact for last since 3 weeks here name is selamawit zerea she is 28 . i try to call to her cell phone is not work ,,,,,, so please she is eritrean so please help them and i need to know where she is ?

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