Black in Libya? Run!

With the war going on in Libya, hundreds of immigrants have been displaced. Most of them have no money and home to live on. They have resulted to living in the harbour. About 1,200 people consisting of children, women and men are living in unhealthy conditions.

Majority of the immigrants are sub-Saharan Africans from countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Chad and Mali. It is a terrible time to be a black in Libya. Black men are being held and labelled as the mercenaries that were used by Gadhafi. While the men are afraid of being maltreated and killed, the women are reported to be forcibly raped at night. The immigrants are looking for a way to get out and are asking the international community for help.

The Red Cross is aware of the situation but cannot guarantee any form of help. According to their Spokesman
Souad Messaoudi said “We have submitted a report with recommendations and we remind all parties that it is very important to respect these people and protect these people.” A one fifth of Libya’s population are Sub-Saharan Africans. This is because they are a part of Gadhafi’s Pan-African dream. He is said to have invested millions of dollars into Sub-Saharan Africa and the African Union.

Former rebel soldiers have admitted that their main priority is to round up black immigrants because they are believed to be mercenaries.

The International Organization of Migration is helping those who wish to move out of Libya as a result of the on-going situation. They are Picking up anyone lithering the street and according to a member of the Benghazi Brigades in Tripoli, Hamed Isbaq “It is possible that we pick up anywhere from 50 to 100 people daily. The people that have come in anytime in February or after and do not have legal residency, those have a special investigation.” he also acknowledged that “dark skins” are the ones most likely to be picked up”

Detained persons can only be released if they find a citizen to vouch for them. Otherwise, they will have to face a trial.

When visited the centres, they met six detained persons who were from sub-Saharan Africans from Nigeria, Chad and Mali. Before CNN left, four were released while the remaining two were awaiting their fate.

The National Transitional Council has asked former rebels to avoid vengeance. According to human rights group, it is racial profiling in which blacks are being targeted in disguise.


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