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Migrant workers live in fear in Libya

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Migrant workers live in fear in Libya


In a small port west of Tripoli around 1,000 migrant workers from African countries are camping out, fearing reprisal attacks by Libyan rebels.

They live in fear of being mistaken for the mercenaries brought in by the Gaddafi regime at the start of the revolution.

A bricklayer from Nigeria said “Everyone was suspicious of black people. When the fighting started they used to seek you out. They would burst in through the door, beat you up, grab our things and throw them everywhere and you would be running for your life.”

Another migrant worker from Nigeria was more resentful. “For me they have betrayed my trust. For me I don’t want to see this Libya again. I don’t want to live in Libya again,” he said.

Most are in their late 20s – they are tradesman from Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal. They’d come to Libya many months ago to find a better way of life but got caught up in the conflict.

MSF emergency coordinator Simon Burroughs explained the situation, saying “The main problem we are facing here is that these people lack security. They lack access to medical care. They are living in inhuman conditions basically.”

Suspicion and resentment, always present in the country, have been compounded by Gaddafi’s use of trained killers to put down his own people. The UN has raised concerns over the fate of guest workers with the NTC.

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