The myth of ‘African mercenaries’ in Libya has been used since the start of the Libyan conflict to explain away and cover up the mass lynching of black Libyans and migrant workers in Libya by racist elements of the rebels. The mainstream media have largely been complicit in this NATO/rebel propaganda and have maintained the NATO narrative of portraying the rebels as ‘democratic freedom fighters’ who seek liberation. This is despite the readily available evidence of racist attacks on black Libyans and migrant workers by rebels.
Many black Libyans and migrant workers fled to Tripoli to escape the ethnic cleansing policy of rebel elements in the East of Libya. Pro-government civilian militias and security forces in Tripoli offered these refugees protection from the racist rebel onslaught. With the NATO/rebel attack on Tripoli, black Libyans and migrant workers have been left exposed to widespread racist attacks.
Amnesty International crisis researcher Donatella Rovera on the issue of ‘African Mercenaries’;
‘’We examined this issue in depth and found no evidence. The rebels spread these rumours everywhere, which had terrible consequences for African guest workers: there was a systematic hunt for migrants, some were lynched and many arrested. Since then, even the rebels have admitted there were no mercenaries, almost all have been released and have returned to their countries of origin, as the investigations into them revealed nothing.”
Since the start of the conflict the BBC and Al Jazeera (British and Qatari state television) have been at the forefront of peddling the vicious ‘African mercenary’ propaganda despite the likes of Amnesty International repeatedly dismissing these baseless allegations. The BBC have only recently acknowledged and started to cover the racist persecution these people face in Libya despite the crimes being evident throughout the conflict. However the reporting is always deceptively interwoven with the myth of ‘African mercenaries’ in an attempt to justify and give context to the widespread heinous crimes committed by the rebels against black Libyans and migrant workers.
The fighters forced their way into the Nigerian family’s home. They beat the couple living there. They stole their possessions and money, abducted the father of the house and turned on his 16-year-old daughter. She told us what happened:
“A group of armed men came to our house. They started knocking, they came in saying ‘murtazaka’. They locked my mother inside a toilet. Six of them raped me. They took our belongings and money. My father tried to stop them but they hit him and carried him away.”
That was nearly three weeks ago and she has not seen or heard of her father since.
Evidence has emerged in a series of interviews that suggests that some engaged in a violent campaign of abuse and intimidation against the black immigrant community in Tripoli.
Hundreds of men have been arrested with little or no evidence, homes have been pillaged and people beaten up. Most victims are too afraid to be identified but they contacted the BBC to air their grievances.
One man showed us around another home that had been ransacked. A thick iron bar in the corner of the dark room had been used to beat the men and the women there as the rebels made off with their money and few possessions.