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Libya: black Africans continue to be killed and persecuted by rebel forces

Libya: black Africans continue to be killed and persecuted by rebel forces

Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The ongoing civil war in Libya continues with pockets of resistance by Gaddafi loyalists in a few remaining strongholds. It would appear that their future is bleak because NATO will prevent any break-out or major attack against anti-Gaddafi forces. Therefore, Gaddafi loyalists are trapped in all directions and at the same time the military arming and training of anti-Gaddafi forces continues.

However, a major disturbing reality is continuing and this applies to killing and persecuting black Africans by anti-Gaddafi fighters. The BBC is not stepping up its information on this issue after several media outlets raised this fact.

Modern Tokyo Times covered this disturbing reality in an article called Libya: killing black Africans in the name of the revolution and democracy. In this article two staff writers commented that “Reports for many months have stated that Libyan rebels have been killing and persecuting black Africans in Libya once areas came under their control.  The number of reports highlighting this continues to grow and many images have been shown which show Africans being mutilated and having their bodies abused and mocked by non-black African Libyans.  This disturbing fact mocks the notion of “good” versus “evil” because both sides have committed atrocities but for black Africans it is the rebels who they fear.”

“Also, reports have stated that African Libyans are also being victimized and suffering persecution.  Therefore, since large areas have fell to the National Transitional Council (NTC) both non-African Libyans and African Libyans fear for their safety.” 

Recently the BBC also backed up this disturbing fact after investigating these serious allegations. It is clear that the BBC and other major agencies like Deutsche Welle are alarmed by the reality on the ground whereby fighters loyal to the new interim authorities are involved in mass violations of human rights.

In all civil wars it is abundantly clear that all sides commit atrocities because this is the sad nature of war which is brutal and unforgiving. However, the overwhelming majority of African migrants are workers and they have nothing to do with the bloodshed on either side. 

The BBC reports that “They had been hiding in their tiny slum home in a Tripoli suburb since Col Gaddafi had been swept from power, fearing the knock at the door. Earlier this month 20 rebel fighters came, demanding to be let in, shouting “mutasaka (mercenary)”.”

“The fighters forced their way into the Nigerian family’s home. They beat the couple living there. They stole their possessions and money, abducted the father of the house and turned on his 16-year-old daughter.”

The daughter continued and told the BBC that “A group of armed men came to our house. They started knocking, they came in saying ‘mutasaka’. They locked my mother inside a toilet. Six of them raped me. They took our belongings and money. My father tried to stop them but they hit him and carried him away.”

This young lady who suffered such a brutal ordeal continues to be haunted because not only is this nightmare vivid and the scars deep, but she also frets about where her father is and if he is still alive.

It must be remembered that several Arab Islamic regimes in Sudan have been responsible for killing several million Africans. Not only this, slavery was still wide-spread in Sudan in recent times whereby Arabs would either sell or sometimes rape young African girls and then keep them for domestic labor. 

Saudi Arabia also only abolished slavery of Africans in the middle of the twentieth century after outside pressure forced this nation to change its policy on slavery.  In Mauritania slavery was also a recent reality and despite legal reforms it is clear that Africans are viewed with disdain by many non-black Africans.

Turning back to the BBC investigation the article comments that “Evidence has emerged in a series of interviews that suggests that some engaged in a violent campaign of abuse and intimidation against the black immigrant community in Tripoli.”

“Hundreds of men have been arrested with little or no evidence, homes have been pillaged and people beaten up. Most victims are too afraid to be identified but they contacted the BBC to air their grievances.”

“One man showed us around another home that had been ransacked. A thick iron bar in the corner of the dark room had been used to beat the men and the women there as the rebels made off with their money and few possessions.”

Human Rights Watch is alarmed by the ongoing situation and stated that “arbitrary arrests and abuse of African migrant workers and black Libyans assumed to be mercenaries (and that) …widespread arbitrary arrests and frequent abuse have created a grave sense of fear among the city’s African population.”

Karlos Zurutuza who is on the ground and other brave reporters are trying to inform the world about this brutal reality. These reporters initially had focused on the Libyan conflict but with more and more assaults against black Africans happening then suddenly this neglected topic was raised.

Sarah Leah Whitson stated that“It’s a dangerous time to be dark-skinned in Tripoli.” Therefore, it is clear that something is badly going wrong and Sarah Leah Whitson who works for Human Rights Watch is alarmed by events on the ground. 

It is essential that the international community demands action and quickly because vast numbers of black Africans are suffering blatant persecution. This applies to people being killed, women being raped, and a community in shock because of the ongoing persecution of people based on color.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15366254,00.html – Karlos Zurutuza and Racist violence overshadows Libya’s revolution

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14758156 – Plight of sub-Saharan Africans in Libya

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14965062Black Africans being persecuted

http://www.unhcr.org/4d7513e49.html  – UNHCR

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Libya: killing black Africans in the name of the revolution and democracy

Libya: killing black Africans in the name of the revolution and democracy

Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Reports for many months have stated that Libyan rebels have been killing and persecuting black Africans in Libya once areas came under their control.  The number of reports highlighting this continues to grow and many images have been shown which show Africans being mutilated and having their bodies abused and mocked by non-black African Libyans.  This disturbing fact mocks the notion of “good” versus “evil” because both sides have committed atrocities but for black Africans it is the rebels who they fear.

It is clear that some rebels accuse Africans of being mercenaries for the Gaddafi regime and they believe that he was favorable towards them during his rule over Libya.  However, it is obvious that the vast majority of non-African Libyans based in Libya were normal workers who just desired employment.

Also, reports have stated that African Libyans are also being victimized and suffering persecution.  Therefore, since large areas have fell to the National Transitional Council (NTC) both non-African Libyans and African Libyans fear for their safety. 

It is factual that many African mercenaries did fight alongside loyal Gaddafi forces and propaganda on both sides is being stated to the media. After all, you have anti-Western individuals who want to use Libya against some European powers and America for supporting the NTC.

Also, loyalist who still support Gaddafi desire to show that rebels are not democrats and that they have also committed atrocities. This means that the fog of war is also being played by many political elements and the propaganda war makes the issue more complex.

Alternatively, pro-rebel forces and Western governments who have supported the rebels have also pinned countless atrocities on Gaddafi. According to the rebels and Western governments who support the NTC, the Gaddafi regime was preparing to slaughter tens of thousands of individuals in rebel held areas before military intervention and arming the rebels took place. 

However, it is apparent that non-African Libyans and African Libyans are residing in fear and many Africans have been killed who were not mercenaries. Nigerians who were caught up in the mayhem have heavily rebuked Libya’s NTC and Western powers who supported the rebels against Gaddafi. They have not done this on the grounds of supporting the Gaddafi regime but because of how they have been treated by the rebels.

Karlos Zurutuza, writer for Deutsche Welle, reports in his article titled Racist violence overshadows Libya’s revolution, that many Africans are suffering and being persecuted. He quotes a local rebel council officer called Abdulhamid Abdulhakim who states “None of them are Libyans. Those guys we keep inside are all foreigners paid by Gadhafi to kill our people, what are we expected to do with them? They are mercenaries, you know?”

Zeinab Muhamed repudiates this logic by stating that “They say we’re not Libyans but that’s not true. I was born in Chad but we moved to Sebah – 900 kilometers (560 miles) south of Tripoli – 20 years ago. We have had Libyan passports almost since the day we moved.”

Under Gaddafi he allowed vast numbers of African migrants to move to Libya because of the sheer size of Libya and natural resources. This, alongside the small population in Libya meant that outside workers were needed for menial jobs. However, the crisis of today is partly based on many Africans being recruited by the Gaddafi regime.

Many Libyans are also black Africans and they are also being persecuted and like stated earlier, it is obvious that the vast majority of African migrants were workers who had been welcomed by the Gaddafi regime.

Therefore, rebels and anti-Gaddafi individuals are exploiting the situation in order to clampdown against innocent Africans in Libya. This can be seen by many make-shift prisons which have sprouted up in areas controlled by the NTC.

Before local officials prevented African prisoners from speaking to Deutsche Well one prisoner from Ghana spoke.  Abiki Martens stated “I came from Ghana last year because my brother told me it was easy to find a job as a street cleaner. It seems that all of them are black. I swear I’ve never ever held a weapon in this country.”

Rebels counter accusations of racism and killings of Africans by stating that people killed or being held in make-shift prisons were found with military arms and had war wounds.  Therefore, implying that they were only holding Africans who are deemed to be mercenaries and that Africans who were killed had fought against rebel forces.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling on the need to stop “arbitrary arrests and abuse of African migrant workers and black Libyans assumed to be mercenaries (and that) …widespread arbitrary arrests and frequent abuse have created a grave sense of fear among the city’s African population.”

Sarah Leah Whitson who works for Human Rights Watch issued a chilling comment because she stated that “It’s a dangerous time to be dark-skinned in Tripoli.”  

Reporters on the ground like Karlos Zurutuza and many others are stating similar things. Therefore, images of persecution and arbitrary killings during the height of the fighting is leading to an uneasy feel for the majority of Africans throughout Libya and something needs to be done to protect the innocent.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15366254,00.html – Karlos Zurutuza and Racist violence overshadows Libya’s revolution

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14758156 – Plight of sub-Saharan Africans in Libya

http://www.unhcr.org/4d7513e49.html – UNHCR

 
 

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