A 29-year-old Nigerian, John Osifo, one of the 600 migrants rescued on Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea by a humanitarian ship has disclosed his ordeals throughout his 11 months stay in Libya.
In Libya “they believe blacks are slaves. That is what they call us. When they want to beat us, they beat us with pipes,”
“They take us to jobs, force us to do hard labour without payment … Sometimes they take you to a prison where you’ll be kept and beaten up,” OSifo said.
Osifo who said he never planned to migrate to Europe revealed that a Libyan destroyed his passport and work permit, after working at a car wash for some months, this made him an irregular migrant and he was forced into hard labour.
28-year-old Alseer Issa Ibrahim, another rescued migrant originally from Sudan said: “Libya is crazy. They arrest us, the police … They put us in some place … two, three days, no eat, no drink. They beat us.
Ibrahim and Osifo were among the almost 600 people on the Aquarius, a rescue ship owned by Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee, now heading toward an Italian port.
MSF said in a statement on Friday that it had witnessed adult malnutrition, overcrowding, violence-related injuries and lack of basic hygiene.
“In the first three months of 2017, interruptions in food supply were observed in two detention centres with detainees going for days without any food,” MSF said. “As a result, MSF is treating adults suffering from malnutrition.”
After the Libyan coastguard stopped almost 600 migrants on Thursday, Italy’s embassy in Tripoli tweeted: “This is the right way forward.”
“We are always suffering in Libya from hunger, and the Libyan people hate us. They don’t look at us like people, they look at us like animals,” said Yagob Mobark Ibrahim, 21, from Sudan.