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DR Congo recalls ambassador from Libya

Move comes after reports emerge of young African men being sold as slaves in Libya

DR Congo recalls ambassador from Libya FILE PHOTO

By Godfrey Olukya

ARU, Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday recalled its ambassador from Libya following reports that some Congolese and citizens of other African countries were being sold as slaves in the North African country.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said while it welcomed Libyan authorities’ opening of a judicial inquiry into the allegations, DRC decided to recall its ambassador to Tripoli so that more light could be shed on the abject migrant trade currently prevailing in Libya.

It added the DRC ambassador to Tripoli would reveal the situation in Libya so that a mission of identification and, if necessary, of repatriation of Congolese nationals found enslaved in Libya could be carried out.

''Slavery in all its forms is a foul practice that revolts all consciousness and has no place in the contemporary world.

“The abject trade of migrants that currently prevails in Libya is an unspeakable practice against African citizens,” it said.

The ministry also strongly condemned the “most vile abuses of human rights that fall under the category of crimes against humanity” in Libya, which it said was deeply painful for the entire African continent.

It urged the African Union to take appropriate measures to stop the practice. 

Senegalese President Macky Sall also strongly condemnED reports of a “slave market” in Libya and demanded justice for the victims.

“This migrant trade issue is a shame. It reminds us of the ugly days of slavery, when human rights of people were violated and the perpetrators go unpunished.

“I am calling on ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] to initiate a joint approach to tackle this issue urgently,” Sall told leaders of the regional economic body at the opening of the ECOWAS parliament in Nigerian capital Abuja on Wednesday.

In Dakar, Senegalese Foreign Minister Sidiki Kaba issued a communique through the charge d' affaires of the Libyan Embassy in Senegal in which he condemned the allege sale of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in Libya.

His statement came after the presidents of Niger, Burkinafaso, Mali and Guinea also condemned the report and urged the International Criminal Court to look into the allegations.

President Mahamadou Iyousoufou on Tuesday called on the ICC to initiate investigations into the allege human trafficking allegations in Libya; earlier, Burkina Faso and Mali had also recalled their ambassadors from the country.

Issoufou had called for the issue to be included in the agenda of the EU-AU summit scheduled for later this month in West African city of Abidjan.

African Union chairman, who is also as Guinea’s President, Alpha Conde also condemned the allege practice.

“These allegations are in total contrast with the tenets of the AU. I urge all of us to act fast against this evil practice,” Conde told Guinea’s national broadcaster RTG.

African leaders have been furious after a CNN news exposed auction of mostly African migrants near Tripoli, Libya, for as little as $400.

*Alpha Kamara contributed to this story from Dakar, Senegal

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