Libya will investigate slave trading in the country, the internationally recognised government announced Sunday.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Metig said his UN-backed Government of National Accord would investigate the allegations, in a statement posted Sunday on the Facebook page of the GNA’s press office.
Metig said he would instruct the formation of a “commission to investigate these reports in order to apprehend and bring those responsible to justice”, the statement added.
This follows a footage of an apparent live auction in Libya, aired on CNN where black men are presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.
The CNN report apparently showing migrants being auctioned off in Libya was shared widely on social media, provoking outrage in Africa, Europe and the rest of the world. So many Africans have on social media denounced the selling of blacks who have family’s back home.
The grainy footage shot on a mobile telephone shows a man CNN said was Nigerian and in his 20s being offered up for sale as part of a group of “big strong boys for farm work”
For sometime now Africans have been raising awareness on the perilous journey made by thousands of African citizens through Libya and the Mediterranean Sea to get into Europe. But what remained hidden is the abominable act of selling blacks as they got into Libya for transit.
The African Union reacts
The African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate “slave markets” of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men.
Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also chairman of the African Union, demanded an inquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade … from another era.”
Meanwhile, Senegal’s government, commenting on Facebook, expressed “outrage at the sale of sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,” which constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity.”
Protests in Paris
Hundreds of activists flocked to the Libyan Embassy in Paris on Saturday, outraged with the government’s failure to tackle people smuggling.
About a thousand people turned up to the protest following calls by several prominent anti-slavery groups and a number of celebrities of African origin, including soccer star Didier Drogba and former Miss France Sonia Rolland.