Monday, 12 September 2011
BLACK WOMEN IN LIBYA TELL HOW nATO ALLIED REBELS RAPED THEM
nato's most important propagada arm in the Libya conflict - Al-Jazeera - have been crucial in justifying the mass lynching of black people by the pro-nato rebels in Libya for 6 months, but now they have this grossly hypocritical report on how African migrants are being targeted by the rebels - Sukant
JANZOUR, Libya — When the sun sets on the refugee camp for black
Africans that has sprung up at the marina in this town six miles west
of Tripoli, the women here brace for the worst.
The rebels who ring the camp suddenly open fire. Then they race into
the camp, shouting "gabbour, gabbour" — Arabic for whore — and haul
away young women, residents say.
"You should be here in the evening, when they come in firing their
guns and taking people," one woman from Nigeria said Wednesday as she
recounted the nightly raids on the camp. "They don't use condoms,
they use whatever they can find," she said, pointing to a discarded
plastic bag in a pile of trash.
As she spoke, other women standing nearby nodded in agreement.
There is no way to know how many women have been raped here, where
hundreds of Africans have settled in and around the boats of a
marina. No one keeps statistics in the camp, and foreign aid workers
say they are prohibited from discussing the allegations on the
record. International Red Cross representatives say only that they
have spoken to rebel leaders about "security concerns."
But the story that women tell is part of a larger picture of abuse of
black Africans in Libya that is emerging in the wake of the rebel
victory, born of allegations that Gadhafi often hired sub-Saharan
Africans to fight for him.
Hundreds of black Africans have been swept up and are being held in
makeshift prisons awaiting some sort of judicial finding of whether
they were mercenaries or not. Thousands more are trapped in refugee
camps. They can't leave the camps, they say, for fear they'll be
targeted on the streets. They do not feel safe inside the camps,
Human rights advocates have decried what appears to be mistreatment
of black African workers, and U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz, speaking in
Washington on Wednesday, admitted it's a growing problem.
"We've seen fairly credible reports that there has been some
mistreatment of African migrants," Cretz told McClatchy. He said the
U.S. was trying to work with rebel leaders to prevent abuse, which he
blamed on young rebels who are confusing Africans who might have
fought as mercenaries for Gadhafi with the hundreds of thousands of
sub-Saharan Africans who were working in Libya when the rebels took
"We don't think it's a systematic or intentional problem on the part
of the Libyan authorities," Cretz said. "It's something that's
happening at levels below that, which is of considerable concern to
Cretz said the rebels' National Transitional Council is working with
the United Nations and other international relief organizations to
ease the situation.
There was little evidence of such efforts at the marina here,
however. At the nearby headquarters of the revolutionary forces in
the area, Mohammed Abdullah Fatouri, the head of the military
council, said that he was unaware of any problems in the camp.
"Have them bring a letter," he said. "If they tell us this is
happening, we will protect them."
At the camp itself, fear is pervasive. When a car bearing two armed
rebels drove into the camp, both men and women scattered.
It was not clear what the rebels wanted. Someone said they were
looking for laborers. Perhaps emboldened by a pair of European TV
camera crews, however, some of the camp's residents confronted the
rebels. An older man, apparently the translator for one of the
European TV crews, intervened, and after a few minutes, the
militiamen got back in the car and drove off.
Tensions here have been made even worse, the camp's residents said,
because Libyan fisherman whose boats have been turned into dwellings
want them back.
Life in the camp has been difficult. Only on Monday did the Red Cross
deliver aid packages.
"They brought us shampoo and some medical supplies, but not enough,"
the woman from Nigeria said. "We can't eat shampoo. There's no water
"Until two days ago we had no water," one man said. "People were
drinking the seawater."
Relations between Libyans and black African workers have long been
troubled. Many Africans came here without official documentation from
the Libyan government and grew accustomed to abuse as a part of life,
something they accepted in trade for employment in oil-rich Libya.
"Sometimes your boss beats you or doesn't pay you," said Stacey
Alexandra, 26, who said she had spent the last three years in Libya
cleaning private homes and hotels and sending money back to family in
Cameroon. "Now everyone here wants to leave. This country is too
Alexandra showed a scar on her arm that she said had come from an
assault on the street as she was leaving her home last month as the
"It was a group of young men," she said, adding that they did not
appear to be a faction fighting for either side.
"The (revolutionaries) forced us to work for 10 days, cleaning up one
of their barracks," said a man named Eddy. "Yesterday, two people
went out to get bread. They have not come back."
"I fled with nothing," said a man named Nelly, pointing to the
mismatched flip-flops on his feet. "When (the revolutionaries) took
over Tripoli, they drove us out of our homes. I lived with my uncle
in Souk al Jumaa. My uncle was not home. As I ran away, I saw many
blacks. They said this was a safe place, so I followed them. I can't
find my uncle. The war has taken my uncle."
For Nelly to look for his uncle in Tripoli on Wednesday would have
been unthinkable. At a revolutionary base in Souk al Jumaa, one of
the first neighborhoods in Tripoli freed from Gadhafi's control,
revolutionary commander Jamal Ibrahim Safar offered advice, in
English, to a Ghanaian citizen who had been detained by his men at a
"Stay off the street," he said to Essau Abdou Mohamed, who identified
himself as a barber who lost his passport three months ago. Mohamed
said that in the last three weeks, he hadn't left his house after
"This is the third time I've been detained," said Abdou Mohamed. His
saving grace had been a letter, now well-worn, from the revolutionary
military council in Misrata, 160 miles east of Tripoli, explaining
that he had lost his passport but that he was not suspected of being
a pro-Gadhafi fighter.