Thursday, September 8, 2011

The dark side of Tripoli: Harbor sanctuary for Gadhafi's migrants

Away from Tripoli, away from the fighting and largely away from any aid, hundreds of immigrants are living in an abandoned harbor.

They are living on scraps, in poor sanitary conditions, and fearful of being mistakenly identified as mercenaries who fought for the ousted Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.

In one cooking pot a chicken lies at least a quarter covered in flies. Until recently there has only been salt water available. And there are dark tales of women being dragged away in the middle of the night to be raped by armed gangs.

An estimated 1,200 men, women and children have turned the upturned fishing boats at Janzour harbor into a makeshift camp of tents and boats.

Pretty much all of them are black Sub-Saharan African immigrants who moved to Libya for casual or manual jobs, from places like Chad, Ghana, Nigeria or Mail.

Now their skin color is making them a target for the new power in town who say black Africans also came to Libya to fight as mercenaries for Gadhafi. During the fighting CNN has interviewed such fighters on several occasions.

Under Libya's searing daytime heat they wait at Janzour for help and a way out. more