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Africa
Gunmen kill seven at Libyan refugee camp
Killings at a Tripoli refugee camp highlight ongoing persecution of black Libyans.
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2012 18:51
Black Libyans originally from the town of Tawergha say they have been persecuted by country's new rulers [Reuters]
Gunmen have killed seven Libyan refugees at a camp in a Tripoli suburb, residents and hospital sources said.

The attackers came to the gate of the makeshift settlement in a disused naval academy in Janzour on Monday saying they wanted to arrest young men, and opened fire as people gathered to protest.

"Men from Misrata came to the camp at 10 o'clock. We knew they were from Misrata because it was written all over their cars," camp resident Huda Bel-Eid said at Tripoli Medical Hospital.

"Around 15 of them started shooting us. All the women escaped but the young men stayed. My brother was there and I went to help him because he was shot in the head and neck, then they shot me (in the leg)," she added.

Officials from Misrata military council denied involvement.

Residents of the camp, black Libyans originally from the town of Tawergha, said they are being persecuted over accusations they collaborated with slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during the country's revolution.

Many say they are also regularly mistaken for sub-Saharan African mercenaries who revolutionary fighters said fought for Gaddafi.

Abdelhafid Suleiman, head of the military council of Janzour, told Reuters news agency that a group from the Tawergha camp later took to the streets to protest against the deaths. He said more violence erupted when Janzour fighters, who were on the streets to maintain security, tried to take knives and sticks off the Tawergha refugees.

Gaddafi's forces used Tawergha as a base to besiege and shell the coastal city of Misrata during last year's civil war. Its residents say they were held hostage by Gaddafi's men and did not collaborate.

Once inhabited by almost 30,000 people, Tawergha is now a ghost town.

Human Rights Watch has said Misrata rebels have looted and destroyed homes in Tawergha as well as the neighbouring farming villages of Kararim and Tomina, and revenge attacks against the refugees and arbitrary arrests continue.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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