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USAfrica: What is the life of a “Black” African worth in Libya, globally? By Jane Ikezi

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What is the life of a “Black” African worth in Libya, globally?
By Jane O. Ikezi
Exclusive commentary for USAfricaonline.com @USAfricaLive
News streaming and trending across the social media and major platforms is the ongoing (?) slave trade in Libya, North Afr ica, with Nigerians seemingly being the majority of victims.
People assume that this is new but they are wrong. Now, it is outright called slave trade. For years, these horrific activities have been occurring and the International Community labeled it “human trafficking.” Then the focus was on the trafficking of young women and children for the purpose of forced prostitution (sex slaves). 

 

At what point does a Conflict become a War? Or Human Trafficking become Slave Trade? Or Mass Killings become Genocide? Or a Crime against one group become a Crime Against Humanity? These are questions we should ask ourselves as citizens of the world. How long can we turn a blind eye to atrocities before we act? But for social media sharing videos of multiple acts of unimaginable horror being perpetrated against our fellow human beings, would we be inclined to deal with the situation? We live in a world of technology – a culture where seeing is indeed believing. Literature is no longer enough to feed us information. Technology and social media determine when we cross the lines from human trafficking to slave trading, as well as, the answers to the other questions above. That which gathers the most attention and receives the most views, is that which we choose to act upon.

After the topple of Gaddafi in Libya, there was  jubilation for a purportedly free Libya. Thomas Jefferson said, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” The Western World ought to know that it is not enough to remove a dictator. The real challenge lies in maintaining stability thereafter. Past is prologue. We need only to look at recent examples in Iraq and Afghanistan. After Gaddafi was removed, Libya was left with a vacuum, paving the way for lawlessness and increased criminality. Whatever was wrong in Libya under Gaddafi has now been multiplied.

Organised criminals and other officials in Libya are allegedly making a lot of money from organisations such as the United Nations and USAID by receiving money under the guise of operating refugee camps. Instead, these camps have become  prisons  and warehouses for slave trading. Where is the oversight? Humans are reportedly traded for their organs and used as slaves.

These migrants came from somewhere. They are citizens of a country. Why are their countries of origin not working towards freeing their people? For example, what is the Nigerian government doing about its citizens who are sold as slaves, beaten to death, drowned at sea, starving in the desert, etcetera, all in an attempt to escape hopelessness in their nation?

These migrants are willing to risk their lives in order to seek an unknown tomorrow. They become stateless and displaced. Majority of them pray for repatriation that never comes and they remain in squalid camps, facing more horrors.

The United Nations outlined in resolution 1674, a responsibility to protect civilians in areas of conflict. The various illegal points of entry into these countries particularly Libya, is well-known and should be monitored closely by the United Nations, in order to have access to the migrants before they fall prey to slave traders and other predators.

The Nigerian government continues to show a reckless disregard for their citizens and human rights in general. Shame on the so-called “Giant of Africa.”

“He that is down needs fear no fall.” What image is portrayed of a country whose citizens migrate en mass out of the country into known places of horror, in hopes of making it into Europe? They do this because they are already on the ground and fear no fall.

The United Nations and other  International organisations feign ignorance of the plight of suffering “Black” Africans in Libya. There is a crime against humanity being committed in Libya and the world has not done enough. Why has the United Nations Security Council not intervened, militarily, in this slave trade? The United Nations and Western countries were quick to intervene during Gaddafi’s regime, in order to save Libyans. What is the life of a “Black” African worth to the international community? As the Latin phrase goes “res ipsa loquitur,” the thing speaks for itself.

Jane O. Ikezi, an attorney, is a special correspondent for USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com. She is based in New York.

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AFRICA

Gabon President Ali Bongo recovering from an undisclosed illness in Saudi Arabia

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Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is recovering from an undisclosed illness in Saudi Arabia and still performing his duties, according to a statement released on Sunday amid mounting speculation about his health.

The issue is a particularly sensitive one in the Central African nation. When Bongo’s father died in 2009 after more than four decades in power, Gabonese officials angrily denied French media reports of his death for almost a day, and shut down the internet in the country for several hours.

The statement said that Ali Bongo was suffering dizziness at his hotel in Riyad, Saudi Arabia on Oct. 24 when he sought medical care at King Faysal Hospital.

The information about the president’s health is “extremely reassuring” and the president “continues to perform his duties,” the presidency said.

The communique came amid a swirl of rumors over the president’s health back home in the Central African nation. Some media reports suggested that Bongo had suffered a stroke, though government spokesman Ike Ngouoni cautioned people about “fake news”.

“It would be in his interest entirely to make his presence. I think they’re not putting him in front of the cameras intentionally,” said Douglas A. Yates, a Paris-based Gabon expert.

One of the world’s largest producers of oil, Gabon’s wealth is far from evenly distributed. About a third of the population, estimated to be below 2 million people, live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

The elder Bongo, who ruled the oil-rich nation from 1967 until his 2009 death, was viewed by many as the father of the nation. His time in power, though, was dogged by allegations of corruption and the use of oil profits for personal luxuries, including properties in several European and American cities, and lavish trips abroad.

Ali Bongo won a special presidential election that was held a few months after his father’s death. The opposition claimed it was rigged.

In 2016, protesters took to the streets of the capital, Libreville, and the Parliament building was burned after Bongo’s opponent, Jean Ping, accused Bongo of vote-rigging. The European Union, the United States, and France also expressed concerns about some of the results. Gabon’s constitutional court later upheld Bongo’s victory. AP

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Nigerian army posts Trump video to justify shooting muslim Shiites

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Nigeria’s army (has) posted a video of US President Donald Trump saying soldiers would shoot migrants throwing stones to justify opening fire on a Shiite group (last) week.

In the video, Trump warns that soldiers deployed to the Mexican border could shoot Central American migrants who throw stones at them while attempting to cross illegally.

“We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” said Trump in remarks made on Thursday.

“I told them (troops) consider it (a rock) a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexican military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”

Nigeria’s defence spokesman John Agim told AFP that the army posted the video in response to criticism that its security forces had acted unlawfully.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) said 49 of its members were killed after the army and police fired live bullets at crowds who marched near and in the capital Abuja. The army’s official death toll was six.

Amnesty International said Wednesday it had “strong evidence” that police and soldiers used automatic weapons against IMN members and killed about 45 people in an “unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police”.

The United States embassy in Nigeria said Thursday it was “concerned” and called for an investigation.

“The video was posted in reaction to the Amnesty International report accusing the army of using weapons against pacifist Shiite protesters…. Not only did they use stones but they were carrying petrol bombs, machetes and knives, so yes, we consider them as being armed,” said Agim.

“We intervened only because the IMN members are trying to harm our people, they are always meeting us…at security check points and trying to provoke us, they even burned a police vehicle.”

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is almost evenly split between a mostly Muslim north — which is predominantly Sunni — and a largely Christian south.

Experts have warned the government that a heavy-handed response to the group risks sparking conflict in a volatile region where poverty is widespread.

IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in custody since 2015, when an army crackdown killed 300 of his supporters who were buried in mass graves, according to rights groups.

Zakzaky is facing a culpable homicide charge in connection with the 2015 violence. He remains in jail despite a court order granting him bail.

On Thursday, 120 of 400 IMN members arrested by police on Monday were  charged with “rioting, disturbance of public peace and causing hurt,” said a court official in Abuja on Friday.

According to court documents seen by AFP, the IMN members had been ordered to disperse but they “refused and started throwing stones at the police officers and other members of the public and thereby caused them bodily harm”.

All the suspects pleaded not guilty and were granted bail with the court hearing to resume on December 5.

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U.S calls on Nigeria to investigate killings of Shiite muslims by soldiers

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The United States embassy in Nigeria said on Thursday it was “concerned” and called for an investigation after supporters of an imprisoned Shiite cleric were killed in clashes with security forces.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) said 49 of its members were killed this week after the army and police fired live bullets at crowds who marched near and in the capital Abuja, calling into doubt the military’s official death toll of six.

“The United States embassy is concerned by the deaths resulting from clashes between Nigerian security forces and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in areas surrounding Abuja,” said the US embassy in a statement.

“We urge government of Nigeria authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the events and to take appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible for violations of Nigerian law. We urge restraint on all sides,” it added.

Amnesty International said on Wednesday it had “strong evidence” that police and soldiers used automatic weapons against IMN members and killed about 45 people.

“We have seen a shocking and unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police against IMN members,” said Amnesty’s Nigeria director Osai Ojigho.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is almost evenly split between a mostly Muslim north – which is predominantly Sunni – and a largely Christian south.

Experts have warned the government that a heavy-handed response to the group risks sparking conflict in a volatile region where poverty is widespread.

IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in custody since 2015, when an army crackdown killed 300 of his supporters, who were buried in mass graves, according to human rights groups.

Zakzaky is facing a culpable homicide charge in connection with the 2015 violence, and is in jail despite a court order granting him bail. ref: AFP

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