Libyan Rebels Rounding Up Black Africans

Mokhtar Askally at his shop in Tripoli (AP)
Mokhtar Askally at his shop in Tripoli (AP)

In recent decades, Qaddafi's Libya welcomed hundreds of thousands of black Africans looking for work, and the military recruited heavily from black tribes in Libya's south. But because of reports that some shot at protesters in February or were flown in to fight against the revolution, people with roots in sub-Saharan Africa and black Libyan citizens have now been targeted by rebel forces. The Associated Press reports that they've been rounded up and held in makeshift jails across Tripoli:

Virtually all of the detainees say they are innocent migrant workers, and in most cases there is no evidence that they are lying. But that is not stopping the rebels from placing the men in facilities like the Gate of the Sea sports club, where about 200 detainees — all black — clustered on a soccer field this week, bunching against a high wall to avoid the scorching sun.


Handling the prisoners is one of the first major tests for the rebel leaders, who are scrambling to set up a government that they promise will respect human rights and international norms, unlike the dictatorship they overthrew …

Source: the Associated Press.

Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi told the AP that he'd visited detention centers and found conditions "up to international standards," and insisted, "We are building a Libya of tolerance and freedom, not of revenge." That sounds great, but he'd certainly have a hard time convincing people who have been detained because of their ethnicity alone that they're any better off now than they were before the country's revolution.


Read more at the Associated Press.

In other news: High-Profile Resignations Shake Up Columbia University.

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