A number of reports now, from a variety of organisations, show that black people are being rounded up, disappearing or being interned in atrocious conditions in Tripoli.
Hundreds of African workers are stuck in various locations including about 1,000 at the military port of Sidi Bilal six miles west of Tripoli, fearing for their lives, with little water and limited provisions. This situation has been going on for weeks, with the ICRC finally delivering some water on 5 September.
Macclatchy’ David Enders reports:
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.
One of the women describes the feelings of the inhabitants of the camp:
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 racist.”
David Enders reports further:
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. [Our emphasis] International Red Cross representatives say only that they have spoken to rebel leaders about “security concerns.”
The ICRC (who managed to get the reporters out of the Rixos) says “it is searching for a way to ensure the long-term security of the people in Sidi Bilal, for example by transferring them to a safer location.”
Where are the European countries and NATO when black African civilians need help? Well, we got the answer to that earlier in this conflict when, as the Guardian reported, 72 African refugees were left to die in the Mediterranean by various military units including the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle:
A boat carrying 72 passengers, including several women, young children and political refugees, ran into trouble in late March after leaving Tripoli for the Italian island of Lampedusa. Despite alarms being raised with the Italian coastguard and the boat making contact with a military helicopter and a warship, no rescue effort was attempted.
All but 11 of those on board died from thirst and hunger after their vessel was left to drift in open waters for 16 days. “Every morning we would wake up and find more bodies, which we would leave for 24 hours and then throw overboard,” said Abu Kurke, one of only nine survivors. “By the final days, we didn’t know ourselves … everyone was either praying, or dying.”
Human Rights Investigations calls for European countries to take action to ensure the safe and speedy evacuation of all migrants in Libya who wish to leave.
Update 12 September – The Washington Post reports quotes Niklas Bergstrans, the communications officer for Doctors Without Borders in Tripoli who says of the African guest workers at Jansour that
“They need to be moved somewhere where they are safe,” . “It’s disappointing. We haven’t seen any concrete actions from the Transitional National Council and other international organizations.”