Nigerians and other Africans are being held hostage by the US-NATO backed counter-revolutionary rebels in Libya. The bands of armed gangs have arrested, tortured and murdered hundreds since August 20., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libyan rebels holding 200 Nigerians hostage
By Yusuf Alli, Abuja
The crackdown on Nigerians in Libya continued yesterday, with the arrest of 25 by the rebel-controlled Transitional National Council (TNC), which has slackened Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year grip on power.
The development has brought the number of Nigerians in detention to over 200, The Nation learnt. There are fears that the detained Nigerians may be killed by the rebels, if the Federal Government does not act on time.
A spokesman for trapped Nigerians in Tripoli, Mr. Daramola Siji, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said: “About 25 Nigerians were today arrested in Tripoli and they are being detained in Salahdin part of the capital city. We have no access to them at all.
“So far, we have over 200 Nigerians being detained in various parts of Libya. We do not know their fate. We are praying that they will not be killed like other black migrant workers.
“The general pattern is that the rebels mount roadblocks and everytime black people are sighted in a bus, they will quickly arrest them and hound them into various cells in the city.”
Asked how Nigerians fell into rebels’ hands, Siji said: “Having been without food, they decided to venture out of their homes to look for what to buy and, in the process, most of them were arrested.
“I wish to appeal to the Federal Government to take action. We could not reach the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru, who has been sympathetic to our plight, with the opening up of talks with the TNC leaders.
“Although the Minister designated our Ambassador to Ethiopia to take charge of the situation in Libya, the envoy has remained incommunicado.”
Responding to a question, Siji said: “The rebels felt the black migrants were the mercenaries used by Muammar Gaddafi to fight them and that is why they are embarking on retaliatory killings.
“But we have made the TNC to realise that the mercenaries used by Gaddafi were mostly Chadians and Nigeriens. No Nigerian fought on the side of Gaddafi.”
A top source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who spoke in confidence, said: “The Minister is away in Sweden for Nordic Ministers meeting. But he is on top of the situation, even from his base abroad.
“We have got assurances from the TNC, Britain and France that black migrants will no longer be attacked.”