By Al Qalam and news agencies
Two South Africa Muslim organizations have joined the chorus of global outrage against reports that Arab smugglers in Libya were actively selling African slaves, but leaders in the war-ravaged country have hit back at CNN – which broke the story – calling it “Fake News”.
Libyan authorities announced that an investigation would be opened into the allegations of the report – which included footage apparently showing more than 10 men being sold at an auction outside Tripoli.
But according to the guardian newspaper in the UK, Libyan diplomats have also hit back at the CNN reports, saying they were designed to tarnish the image of Libya.
The head of the UN-backed government of national accord, Fayez al-Sarraj, has promised to mount an urgent investigation into the claims, but his officials have also questioned whether the modern day slave auctions had actually taken place in areas of Libya under the control of his Tripoli based government.
However, Thandile Kona, President of the Muslim Youth Movement (MYM) of South Africa, said it was deeply concerned following reports of enslavement of African migrants in Libya. “These reports, widely reported in international media, indicate that desperate migrants on their way to Europe to seek a better life are falling prey to vicious criminal syndicates who sell them off to slavery or harvest their organs for sale in the illicit organ markets of the world.
He said the resurgence of this “despicable and backward trade in human beings and human organs” mark the reversal of the small civilizational gains that humanity has made since the abolishment of slavery in the nineteenth century.
The MYM calls on the South African government, the African Union, United Nations and all justice loving people of the world to speak out and rise up against this evil trade.
“We make a special call to South African civil society organization’s to raise their voices in condemning the enslavement of human beings and use whatever little influence they have and exert pressure on the South African government to get in contact with the Libyan counterparts and seek a solution to this problem which threatens to make an unwelcome return,” he added.
Meanwhile, Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar and Jaamia Galant of the Claremont Main Road Masjid said in a joint statement that the community was outraged at the news of African migrants being sold as slaves in Libyan auctions.
“These slave auctions of Africans in Libya are testimony to the abiding xenophobia and racism that persists in the Maghreb countries and all over Europe.
“It is lamentable that the African Union has remained passive and silent in the face of this human tragedy. We demand that the Libyan Authorities, the African and European Unions, and the broader international community take immediate and drastic steps to end this scourge of slave auctions and to bring the criminal slave traders to justice.
“We call for the African Union and neighbouring Muslim countries, in particular, to respond to the plight of migrants with urgency and compassion by providing them with necessary shelter, security and human dignity. We call on all peace and justice loving people to campaign for the alleviation of the root causes, which includes socio-economic and political crises, which compel people to flee their homes in search of dignity and livelihoods elsewhere.”
But activist and writer Gerald A. Perreira, the International Secretary for ARM (African Revolutionary Movement) said he has doubts about the CNN “expose.”
Perreira who lived in Libya for many years and served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fatah Revolution said: “I know this much for sure, as an African revolutionary I do not look to the devil for the truth. I know that the devil does not lie some of the time; he lies and deceives all of the time. In whatever form the devil manifests himself, I do not deal with him. He can come in the guise of the imperialists and White Supremacists themselves, or their mouthpieces such as CNN, BBC, Fox News or any of the mainstream corporate media outlets.
“We should never forget their role as cheerleaders and purveyors of the fake news that laid the groundwork for the invasion and destruction of the Libyan Jamahiriya. Therefore, let us ask ourselves the burning question, ‘why are they providing us with this information, and why now? Why are the imperialists suddenly feigning concern for the plight of Africans?”