Saturday 27 August 2011

The Libyan Race War Begins

Since March the rebels have been targeting blacks in Libya.

The media knew this - and still they lie.

Libyan rebels accused of targeting blacks

Rights groups say African migrant workers and black Libyans face beatings and detention by rebel fighters who suspect them of being mercenaries hired by Moammar Kadafi to put down the rebellion.

March 04, 2011|

By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times

About a dozen African men stood lined along a hallway of the courthouse in the eastern city of Benghazi. The men were suspected of being mercenaries fighting on behalf of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and had been rousted from their homes in the morning, turned in by residents responding to a rebel campaign urging them to report "suspicious people."

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But the interview was abruptly ended and the group of Africans were led away to detention by Muhammed Bala, who described himself as a security officer for the rebel government.

"We're out looking for mercenaries every day," Bala said.

Across eastern Libya, rebel fighters and their supporters are detaining, intimidating and frequently beating African immigrants and black Libyans, accusing them of fighting as mercenaries on behalf of Kadafi, witnesses and human rights workers say.

In a few instances, rebels have executed suspected mercenaries captured in battle, according to Human Rights Watch and local Libyans.

The rebel-led provisional government in Benghazi denies mistreating suspected mercenaries, though it acknowledges that it is detaining some for questioning. It says it has given human rights representatives access to detainees.

But rebel fighters and bands of gunmen who looted government weapons depots are reportedly instigating their own detentions and beatings.

Kadafi has long used mercenaries, many of them from sub-Saharan Africa, to help enforce his rule.

As the country has descended into violence in recent weeks, witnesses in the capital,Tripoli, and other cities have reported mercenaries suppressing protests and indiscriminately shooting at civilians.

But Libya also is home to thousands of immigrant laborers as well as black Libyans. In their zeal, human rights officials and witnesses say, rebel fighters in some cases have arbitrarily killed some mercenaries and in others cases failed to distinguish between them and non-combatants.

In the eastern city of Beida and in other areas under rebel control, several accused mercenaries have been killed recently, said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch in Libya. There have been "widespread and systematic attacks" on Africans and black Libyans by rebels and their supporters as they attempt to root out suspected mercenaries, he said.

"Thousands of Africans have come under attack and lost their homes and possessions during the recent fighting," Bouckaert said in an interview Friday in Benghazi. "A lot of Africans have been caught up in this mercenary hysteria."

He called the rebel fighters and gunmen "ad hoc military and security forces."

The provisional government says it is struggling to control thousands of armed men fighting under the banner of the "revolutionary movement." There is no central military leadership or chain of command, only undisciplined street fighters.

"This is a revolution. We're starting from zero," said Mustafa Gheriani, an official with the provisional government in Benghazi, who said detainees are well-treated. "We don't have structures in place to deal with these issues."

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