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They fled hundreds of miles to escape war in Ethiopia. But they fear it wasn’t far enough.

“I felt free,” he said. “But now my hope is lost.”

They watched friends die in the mountains of Tigray. They survived imprisonment. They paid bribes and suffered from injuries as they fled the civil war devastating Ethiopia, the Washington Post reports.

When the four Tigrayan asylum seekers made it to Nairobi this spring, at first they felt safe. Living in a one-room apartment more than 1,000 miles from the fighting, the friends — three medical workers and one journalist — said they were reassured to be in Kenya, a democracy and one of the region’s most stable countries.

But it was not long before their sense of security dissipated. Rumors abounded about intelligence officers surveilling Tigrayans on behalf of the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments.

Then, late last month, in an incident that sparked an outcry in Kenya and attracted international attention, two men dragged a prominent businessman of Tigrayan descent out of his Bentley and into a Subaru as he sat in Nairobi traffic. A traffic officer appeared in a widely shared video to be holding the door of Samson Teklemichael’s car open to assist his captors. Teklemichael could be heard pleading for bystanders to record his capture.

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