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NEWS / Asylum Seekers

Continued abuse of African refugees in Libya feared

Illegal detention centres, extortion and slavery common as asylum seekers use country as jumping-off point to reach Europe.

Stripped naked, a man writhes in pain on the floor as heated plastic is dripped on his back. Other men are beaten while their kidnappers discuss ransom money.

These are the scenes depicted in graphic new videos that purportedly depict African refugees being abused in Libya.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the authenticity of the images. But the abuse of African asylum seekers in the North African country is not new.

Illegal detention centres, extortion and slavery have become common in Libya as people use the country as a jumping off point to cross the Mediterranean Sea in hopes of reaching Europe.

Many asylum seekers have been caught and returned to Libya after failed, undocumented journeys by boat.

Last year, videos showing African asylum seekers being sold at slave auctions sparked an international outcry.

But Libya has accused European nations of not doing enough to deal with the mass waves of migration off its coast.

"This relationship needs to be organised," said Mohamed Ismael, a Libyan analyst.

"An international conference between Libyans and northern European states should resolve how Libya can deal with part of th ematter, as all of it can't be imposed on Libya.

"We cannot be a cemetery, a residence or a jail."

More than 100,000 migrants reached Italy last year from Libya, but at least 3,000 people died after their boats sank in the Mediterranean Sea.

Libya has been fragmented between two governments and multiple militias for several years, after a 2011 popular uprising led to the overthrow of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. 

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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