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Nigeria flying citizens from Libya amid 'endemic' abuse

Nigeria flying citizens from Libya amid 'endemic' abuse
From Al Jazeera - January 7, 2018

Nigeria is flying out thousands of its citizens from Libya who face grave abuses such as rape and slavery as they attempt to reach Europe through the war-torn North African nation.

Large numbers of Nigerians have been trapped in Libya where they were trying to cross to Italy by sea, but were stopped by local armed factions and the Libyan coastguard.

Nigerian officials on a fact-finding mission to Libya expressed shock at what they saw and heard from victims.

"They talked about various abuse - systematic, endemic, and exploitation of all kinds," said Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama. "There were obviously interests that wanted to keep as many of them there as possible because they were commodities."

Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris, reporting from the Libyan capital Tripoli, said Nigerians there told of abuses such as slavery, rape, imprisonment, and torture.

"These happened either in the hands of the authorities or people-smugglers," Idrissaid.

"The journey back home for them is a mixed bag. A lot of them are happy that they are free at last, but disappointed that many lost so much in this country and they are going back with nothing."

Thousands to be evacuated

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