Friday, August 24, 2012

Rebels in Libya Accused of Killing Three African Migrants

Libya militia members accused of killing three sub-Saharan migrants

Eritrean priest says three migrants were beaten and shot dead during a protest over conditions at camp east of Tripoli

Tom Kington in Rome, Friday 24 August 2012 10.23 EDT

Libyan militia members who fought to oust Muammar Gaddafi last year have been accused of murdering three sub-Saharan migrants at a camp they were guarding.

The men allegedly shot the migrants dead at the camp in Homs, east of Tripoli, on Thursday while suppressing a protest over conditions there, according to Father Moses Zerai, an Eritrean Roman Catholic priest who runs a Rome agency assisting asylum seekers.

"On Thursday the women started a hunger strike over conditions and in reaction the soldiers beat and shot dead an Eritrean man, aged around 20," Zerai told the Guardian.

"The women started to yell, the guards then fired at their cells, at which point the men started shouting and the guards beat them and shot two," he said, adding that he had spoken to two people inside the camp and a third source in Tripoli.

Another Eritrean man who was interned in Homs and described the plight of migrants to the Guardian, had recently escaped from the camp and was now in Tripoli, Zerai said.

Sub-Saharan migrants interned in Libya are often seeking to sail to Europe to request asylum. The camp at Homs now holds about 150 people, including three pregnant women, Zerai said.

"These guards, some in uniform, some not, are the same militia men who fought against Gaddafi last year," he said. European nations, he added, were turning a blind eye to the treatment of migrants, content that they were not reaching "fortress Europe".

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