“I take refuge with 32 Algerian students in underground shelters. The situation has become very worrying after we learned of the killing of the student, Mohamed Talbi. We hope that the Algerian authorities coordinate quickly in order to move us to safe places.”
The Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Sunday that Talbi had died in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
Talbi, who was originally from Tlemcen, in western Algeria, had completed his studies last year, but he discovered a mistake in his name on the certificate he received by mail while in the United Arab Emirates, where his family lives now. He went back to Ukraine to correct the mistake, and days later the war erupted.
In a statement, Abdelhafide Talbi, the young man’s father, told Al-Fanar Media that it was difficult for his son to travel due to the intense bombing on the Ukrainian territories. He said the family is waiting to receive their son’s body once the hostilities stop.
Other Algerian students in Ukraine shared with Al-Fanar Media stories of the fear and horror they are experiencing as strangers in a devastated country.
Selim Lakhdari, a pharmacy student in Kyiv, said students had become extremely worried since learning of the death of Mohamed Talbi.
Lakhdari said he and 32 other Algerian students are now hiding in an underground shelter. He hopes that his country’s authorities quickly coordinate their transfer to safe places in Ukraine or neighboring countries.
A Desperate Journey to Poland
Bilal Chayah, a doctoral student in medical physics, described the harsh journey he and 500 other Algerian and Arab students made from Kyiv to Shehyni, a town on the border with Poland. They traveled by bus, train, and even on foot in freezing cold before reaching the border on the night of February 27.
Chayah was living near the Kyiv airport when the Russian invasion began on February 24 and witnessed the first attacks.