News / Africa

Aid Agency: Africans Stranded in Tripoli in Peril

The International Organization for Migration says an increasing number of migrants in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, are in need of assistance and protection.  The Geneva-based IOM reports sub-Saharan African migrants are among the most vulnerable.

The International Organization for Migration reports the situation in Tripoli is slowly improving.  Nevertheless, security remains volatile, and the group says many migrants are afraid to move around freely in the capital.

A spokeswoman for IOM in Geneva, Jemini Pandya, says migrants are telling the group's representatives they are too scared to leave their temporary homes  in Tripoli for fear of being arrested or killed.  Some claim that even documented migrants are afraid to go out in search of food and water, because they have heard of others who have done so and disappeared.

Pandya says most migrants do not congregate in large numbers, to avoid being conspicuous or targeted.  She says such security issues are hampering her group's access to sub-Saharan Africans - that migrants are afraid of the attention that a meeting with IOM might bring.

“While many of the migrants who are getting in touch with us ... want IOM to help them to leave Libya, there are others who do not.  Among them are a group of 800 sub-Saharan Africans who are currently stranded at a fishing port on the Tripoli coast.  And they are either too scared to return to their home countries and want asylum or they simply do not want to go back because there is no prospect of a livelihood if they do go back,” Pandya said.  

The IOM has recently evacuated nearly 1,600 migrants and vulnerable Libyans by boat from Tripoli.  Pandya says there were very few sub-Saharan Africans among them.  This, she says, is because IOM has not been able to reach many migrants who live in the outskirts of the city, and few have been able to get to the port on their own.

Throughout the crisis, the IOM spokeswoman says, sub-Saharan Africans have been particularly subject to physical attacks, and some have been killed.  She tells VOA many were targeted by people who believed they were mercenaries in the employ of Libya's former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“Sub-Saharan Africans, they are either perceived to have been mercenaries or associated with mercenaries.  So that is a possible reason for why they would be targeted.  I’m not sure.   I cannot really say that this is the case for every single story that we have heard.  But certainly it is a factor,” Pandya said.

Before opposition forces gained control of Tripoli, evacuation by boat was the only safe route out of the city.  That situation has eased now that the National Transition Commission is in charge.  

IOM spokeswoman Pandya says transporting migrants out of the capital by road would be faster and more economical than by sea.  But, she notes, moving around by road remains problematic because there are continuing risks of violence, and such travelers must pass through many security checkpoints.

Nevertheless, she says, IOM is planning for road evacuations, and is hopeful this can begin soon.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs