The Libya Slave Markets: the shame of the 21st Century World

Gabby Ogbechie, TPG.

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For the umpteenth time, I have captivatingly watched the riveting report on CNN Africa regarding the Libya Slave Trade. On arrival, the CNN crew was taken to the location where an ad-hoc slave auction was taking place. Three apparently able-bodied men were the subject of the ongoing auction. ‘’ Four hundred, five hundred, six hundred, seven hundred, .… twelve hundred, … sold’’. And the three men were sold for twelve hundred dollars at four hundred dollars apiece. Apparently, the men were Nigerians, as the report by Nima Elbagir, of CNN indicated.

The next humiliating stop in the report was a warehouse in Italy in which the rescued migrants were housed. As would be expected, there was a shortage of everything: no food, no water, and so on and so forth. One of the inmates, whose opinion was sought regarding the fact that some of the inmates had been sold in slave markets responded, ‘’I was sold’’. He then went on to show the CNN crew evidence of the ill-treatment sustained at the hands of their ‘‘captors/owners’’; scars on backs, feet, and punctures in inaccessible parts of the human anatomy. ‘’We want to go home, let them take us home,’’ they chorused.

Evidence that slavery, the selling and buying of human beings for different purposes in the modern, twenty-first Century world was being practiced surfaced a few years ago when ISIS traded young Yazidi and Christian girls as sex slaves. The older women, like their male counterparts, were given the option of either converting to Islam, or be slaughtered with butchers’ knives.

One could argue, at the time, that the Islamic State was a place far removed from reality, because of the barbaric state of affairs imposed on people in the ISIS occupied areas of Iraq and Syria. But, with ISIS apparently gone, the world is faced with the reality of the fact that places like Libya have become as bad as whatever state ISIS thought it was creating, in redrawing the map of the Middle East.

It is therefore no wonder that the protest by people of Black African descent happened in Paris, France around the premises of the Libyan Embassy. But one may ask, why in Paris alone? Why not in all the capital cities in all African nations? Why not in all other nations of the world?

The answer may lie in the fact that most Western nations would not want to offend their Muslim and Arab citizens and guests by staging, allowing, or getting involved in such protests. On the contrary, whenever issues bothering on the ill-treatment of Palestinians by Israeli Defence Forces crop up for whatever reasons, Muslims and Arabs easily hoodwink and railroad the West and the rest of the world into condemning Israel, and boycotting Israeli made goods.

This is in spite of the fact that the Muslim world, for whom ISIS/Islamic State speaks, has made it abundantly clear that that Western civilization, which the rest of the world has embraced, is haram, and that all who do not convert to Islam are enemies who must be slaughtered. The taunts of Muslims to Britons that they are taking over Britain and all of Europe is yet to strike a chord, but the advance is unrelenting.

The testimony of Nadia Murad, the Yazidi girl from northwest Iraq whose village, Kocho was overtaken by ISIS in August, 2014 and was captured and turned into the sex slave (sabiyya) of Hajji Salman, a high ranking ISIS judge. When she eventually dared to escape, her owner had her gang-raped all night by six of his bodyguards until she became unconscious. She was then passed to six other men who beat and raped her in turns before she eventually escaped. Meanwhile, her father, mother, five brothers had been executed.

The members of the Security Council of the United Nations before whom she testified passed a resolution to appoint independent investigators to collect evidence of ISIS crimes, the first step towards holding the group accountable for its mass executions. Murad, who has written a book, ’’The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight against the Islamic State’’ has dedicated the proceeds thereof toward supporting ISIS survivors and bringing ISIS to justice.

Thus far, ISIS and Muslim fundamentalists have gotten away with murder because the governments that should lead the charge against the excesses of radical and fundamentalist Islam have been shut up by oil dollars; most western leaders are still towing the path defined by President Obama; and African leaders are in no position whatsoever to protest because they are either fellow Moslems, or stooges of either Saudi Arabia or Iran.

Now that Nadia Murad has declared her personal war with ISIS, let us hope that the rest of the world would wake up from its slumber, and for the sake of their children and loved ones, do all it can to ensure that there never again would be another ISIS. If a young woman could mortgage the rest of her life toward holding ISIS accountable, Christendom, the United Nations, African Union, etc. should wake up to ensure that never again should young men with hopes and dreams be slaughtered like rams; that never again should young women with hopes and dreams be enslaved for the pleasure of some idiots who still dwells in their own defined barbaric, pre-historic era; and that never again should anyone dare to enslave another, at whatever price.



Zimbabwe’s Mugabe defies expectations of resignation in address to nation

Zimbabwe's Mugabe defies expectations of resignation in address to nation
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has shocked expectations that he would resign by pledging to remain on as leader of his ZANU-PF party in an address to the nation. That despite the party removing him as leader earlier in the day.

The party’s Central Committee had given the 93-year old less than 24 hours to vacate his office or face impeachment. The move was an attempt to draw his lengthy reign to a close following a de facto coup.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice president fired by Mugabe two weeks ago, was chosen by ZANU-PF to replace Mugabe.

The same motion also expelled Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, from her chair of the party’s women’s league. Speaking at a televised news conference, cyber security minister Patrick Chinamasa added that Mugabe has until noon on Monday to step down from the presidency or face impeachment.

The 93-year-old has led Zimbabwe since 1980, which throughout his controversial rule has seen periods of extreme hyperinflation, attacks on white farmers, and claims of human rights abuses. The elderly statesman was placed under house arrest by the military on Wednesday.

Courtesy: RT

Zimbabwe: Senior party members gather to discuss Robert Mugabe’s political future

Party officials are meeting to decide the future of the ZANU-PF leader. Departure talks between President Robert Mugabe and the army are scheduled for later on Sunday.

Simbabwe - Kinderkadetten im Harare-Nationalstadion (Getty Images/AFP/A. Joe)

A day after the country erupted with joy at the prospect of an end to the Mugabe era, formal steps are being taken to remove him from office. A party committee meeting is currently underway, with leading members of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) to discuss the expulsion of President Robert Mugabe as party leader. The meeting comes ahead of a second round of talks between Mugabe and the army commander on finding a dignified end to the aged-ruler’s presidency.

Chris Mutsvangwa, who has let the campaign to get rid of Mugabe, said that the party meeting’s agenda also includes reinstating former vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and removing the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe, as head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League.

“We are going all the way,” Mutsvangwa told the Reuters news agency on his way into the meeting, also saying that he thinks Mugabe should just resign and leave the country. “He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit but he should just smell the coffee and gap it.”

Support crumbles

Former Mugabe supporters are turning from the beleaguered nonagenarian in droves. The influential ZANU youth league issued a statement on Sunday calling on Mugabe to step down, and for his wife, Grace, to be thrown out of the party. The Youth League has previously been extremely loyal to Mugabe, but now says he should resign “so that he can rest as the elderly statesman he is.”

Impeachment set for next week

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) has said it will “definitely” put in process a motion to impeach Mugabe, adding that there have been discussions with the ruling ZANZ-PF party.

MDC-T party member, Innocent Gonese, told the Associated Press news agency, “If Mugabe is not gone by Tuesday, then as sure as the sun rises from the east, [the] impeachment process will kick in.”

Departure talks with military

Zimbabwean officials have not revealed any details about the talks scheduled for Sunday, but it is alleged that the military would prefer Mugabe to voluntarily resign for the sake of creating a veneer of legality in the leadership handover.

There is speculation that Mugabe may be using whatever power he has left to try to preserve his legacy as one of the leaders of Africa’s liberation, or perhaps to protect himself and his family from prosecution.

The talks are believed to be going ahead without the South African delegation that was involved in the first round. South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, on Saturday described the negotiations as being in the “early days.”

Next Tuesday, the southern African regional bloc will be holding a four-country summit in Angola to discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe.

cl/jlw (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Watch video02:59

Protests against Mugabe in Zimbabwe – DW’s Privilege Musfanhiri reports

Courtesy: DW

Second wave of refugees will sweep Europe, says UN food chief

Second wave of refugees will sweep Europe, says UN food chief
Europe may face a second wave of migration as the situation in refugee camps in Africa and the Middle East is only getting worse, the head of the UN World Food Programme said. He added there is a clear link between hunger and migration.

Living conditions, mostly food distribution, in refugee camps in crisis-affected regions had deteriorated dramatically before the European migrant crisis struck in 2015, David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP) told German newspaper Die Zeit.

“We paid a heavy price for this mistake and I’m afraid we’re about to make it once again,” Beasley believes. According to the UN food chief, while many asylum seekers wanted to stay in their home region, the lack of food has driven them away. “If they don’t have enough food, they will leave. And many of them would go to Europe,” Beasley said.

While the UN has been seemingly making progress in fighting world hunger over the last 10 years, the number of people suffering hunger worldwide has now dramatically increased again, Beasley said, adding that the food crisis is caused mainly by wars and climate change. Yemen is threatened by famine because Saudi Arabia is blocking the country’s ports, preventing aid deliveries, Beasley said, urging Gulf countries not to stand aside but instead join the food aid program for crisis-stricken regions.

A WFP report from March says that some 108 million people across the globe faced “crisis food insecurity or worse,”a dramatic increase from 2015 when the figure was 80 million. The document says that major food crises were fueled by “conflict, record-high food prices and abnormal weather patterns.”

The number of asylum seekers in the EU during the second quarter of 2017 reached 149,000, according to statistical data from Eurostat. The applications mainly came from Syria, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Germany, Italy, France, Greece and the UK account for almost 80 percent of all first-time applicants in the union, the data shows.

Courtesy: DW

UN: EU cooperation with Libya has led to ‘unimaginable horrors’ for migrants

EU-backed agreements between Italy and Libya have reduced the number of migrants reaching EU shores. But the cost has been “unimaginable horrors,” according to the UN human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

A migrant after being rescued off the coast of Libya (Reuters/A. Jadallah)

The European Union’s (EU) policy of helping Libyan authorities in detaining migrants has been “inhuman,” UN human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said on Tuesday. “The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity.”

UN inspectors had seen “unimaginable horrors” endured by nearly 20,000 migrants during visits to four migrant detention centers in Tripoli, Libya in early November the commissioner said.

Zeid added they had seen evidence of widespread torture, rape and forced labor. At one point, the inspectors saw “thousands of emaciated and traumatized men, women and children piled on top of each other, locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic necessities.”

According to Libya’s Department of Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), 19,900 people were being held in facilities under its control in early November, up from about 7,000 in mid-September.

EU complicity

The Italian government signed multiple deals with the Libyan coast guard in the summer with the EU’s backing. Rome also allegedly signed agreements with local militias.

Under the agreements, the EU and Libya cooperate in intercepting migrants as they try to cross the Mediterranean for EU shores and returning them for detention in Libya.

Watch video03:36

Libya: Gatekeeper of Africa’s migrant crisis

Migration from Libya to Italy, which had been a primary route for many Africans migrants, dropped substantially after the deals came into force. The number of detainees in the country was two and a half times higher in November than in mid-September.

Read more: EU-Horn of Africa migration policy inherently flawed, new report suggests

‘Turning a blind eye’

But Zeid, who has criticized EU actions in Libya before, stressed that the agreements have not improved migrants’ living conditions or protected them from abuse.

He also dismissed a meeting between African and European interior ministers in Bern, Switzerland on Monday that ended with both sides agreeing on improving detention conditions in Libya.

“The international community cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the unimaginable horrors endured by migrants in Libya, and pretend that the situation can be remedied only by improving conditions in detention.”

Read more: Doctors Without Borders decries ‘blockade’ on boat migrants in Libyan waters

amp/jm (dpa, AP)

Courtesy: DW

DR Congo: Militiamen accused of mass rape of young girls

Some of the girls were infants, as young as eight months, and none of the victims was older than 12. The fight for mineral resources has led some to dub the DR Congo “the rape capital of the world.”

Symbolbild Protest wegen Vergewaltigungen in DR Kongo (Imago/ZUMA Press/S. Simpson)

Eighteen suspected members of a Congolese militia went on trial Friday in Democratic Republic of Congo, accused of kidnapping and raping some 40 girls.

All of the girls were under 13 and some were infants.

The men are also accused of murdering several people, including a German engineer who was working in the region. They are on trial in a military court in eastern Congo about 20 miles (30 km) from the town of Kavuma, where most of the attacks occurred.

From their toes to their shoulders, photos shows at least five rape victims, wearing brightly colored floor-length skirts, and blouses, sitting next to eachother on a bench.Rape victims in the DR Congo

Gang leaders Frederic Batumike and 17 others are facing charges of “crimes against humanity through rape and murder … and taking part in an insurrectional movement,” said Charles Cubaka Cicura, a lawyer representing the victims

Read more: DR Congo’s former VP convicted of war crimes

The men are accused of being members of the Djeshi ya Yesu militia, which is Swahili for the Army of Jesus, which Batumike allegedly led, according to Colonel Roger Wavara.

Witch doctor advises rape

Batumike was arrested in June in 2016, along with 74 others and accused of “recruiting a witch doctor who advised the militiamen to rape very young girls and thereby gain supernatural protection.”

About 40 girls, some as young as eight months and none older than 12 years, were kidnapped and raped between May 2013 and 2016, said Cicura, the girls’ lawyer.

“At least two girls died following these assaults,” he said.

Denis Mukwege, a global expert on treating gang-rape victims, had denounced the wave of child kidnappings and rape at the time they were occurring.

“How can someone kidnap a child at night and bring her in the bush to rape her?” said Mukwege, who comes from the Congo, during an interview in 2015.

“The condition of the babies who arrive to us like that at the hospital is dramatic,” he said. “These are things that are completely new.”

Fight for minerals

Armed groups battling for control of the region’s vast mineral resources often resort to wide-scale rape to terrorize the local population.

Batumike is also accused of ordering the murder of Congolese human rights activist Evariste Kasali, who was killed in March of last year, and German national Walter Mueller, a plantation owner who was brutally murdered in 2012.

Prosecutors also accuse him of launching several attacks on the police and soldiers in the east of the country.

Jean Chrysostome Kijana, president of rights group Nouvelle Dynamique de la Societe Civile, who attended the opening of the trial, said the case sent a strong signal in the fight against impunity.

Sexual violence is a huge problem in Congo with both militia members and government soldiers accused of abuses. The country, he said, has been dubbed “the rape capital of the world.”

Courtesy: DW

American woman, 25, jailed for calling 93-year-old African dictator a ‘sick man,’ faces 20 years in prison

An American woman charged with subversion in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting the country’s president will remain in police custody this weekend after making her first court appearance Saturday.

Martha O’Donovan, 25, a graduate of New York University, has been accused of calling President Robert Mugabe, 93, a “sick man” in a Twitter post that included a photo illustration of Mugabe with a catheter. O’Donovan denied the allegations, calling them “baseless and malicious.”

U.S. Citizen Martha O' Donovan, center, appears at the Harare Magistrates court in Harare, Saturday, November, 4, 2017. Police arrested and charged Donavan with subversion for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe on Twitter as a "sick man," lawyers said Friday. The offense carries up to 20 years in prison. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Martha O’Donovan will remain in jail over the weekend after she made her first court appearance Saturday.  (AP)

O’Donovan’s lawyer, Rose Hanzi, told the court that a subversion charge was illegal because police did not inform the woman of it when she was taken from her home in the capital, Harare, on Friday morning.

The court disagreed and ruled that O’Donovan will remain in custody over the weekend. Hanzi said on Monday they will approach the High Court for bail.


O’Donovan made no statement in court and showed no emotion as the request was dismissed. She waved to a small crowd of supporters as she was escorted into a prison truck.

The American had been working with a local social media outlet Magamba TV, which described itself as producing “satirical comedy sensations.” She called herself a manager for Magamba TV and a “media activist.”

U.S. citizen Martha O'Donovan arrives at court in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 4, 2017. O'Donovan was charged on Friday with attempting to overthrow the Zimbabwean government, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in jail, after police earlier accused her of insulting 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo - RC14E2B285F0

Martha O’Donovan, 25, was a graduate of New York University.  (Reuters)

Earlier this year, she presented a talk at a re:publica digital culture conference on “How Zimbabweans Rebel Online.”

O’Donovan’s arrest was the first since Mugabe appointed a cybersecurity minister last month. Zimbabwe was shaken last year by the biggest anti-government protests in a decade. Frustration is growing in the once prosperous southern African nation as the economy collapses and the president, in power for more than 35 years, is already running for next year’s elections.


Mugabe’s wife Grace was rumored to take over the presidency after the president, who has been rumored to be in declining health, resigns or dies. The first lady was not well-liked among the country’s citizens due to her lavish spending and fear of being criticized, The Guardian reported.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend a meeting of his ruling ZANU PF party's youth league in Harare, Zimbabwe, October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo - RC13AC3AE6D0

Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, was rumored to take power after the president steps down or dies.  (Reuters)

The group representing O’Donovan, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says it has represented nearly 200 people charged for allegedly insulting Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, in recent years.

“This arrest marks the start of a sinister new chapter in the Zimbabwean government’s clampdown on freedom of speech, and the new battleground is social media,” said Amnesty International’s deputy regional director, Muleya Mwananyanda. The statement said Zimbabwe authorities tracked tweets to O’Donovan’s IP address.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Courtesy: Fox News

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