As the propensity for civil war heightens in Libya, citizens of poorer nations trapped in the crisis and terror shaking the North African country remain susceptible to the promises of bloodshed.
As fighting shook the capital city of Tripoli and other cities along the country’s coast, thousands of workers from West Africa and South Asia have become stranded; many without any passports or money.
Analysts say their home countries are too poor, unorganized, or anarchic to lend a hand. However, it is workers from Sub-Sahara Africa who are at risk of attacks.
Libyan volunteers Shebany and Salaama told reporters that they’re worried about the African laborers, who have been abandoned by their employers from wealthier nations.
The abandoned workers mainly from Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia, have become targets of Anti-Gaddafi protesters who believe “That Gaddafi brought the black people to fight them [Anti-Gaddafi protesters].”
“The Libyans, when they see the blacks, they will kill them. People in the neighborhood don’t want them here. Residents accuse them of being mercenaries for Gaddafi, and if they go out, some people might kill them,” Shebany told reporters.
Many people from poorer nations have been caught in the crossfire; some mugged or attacked while making their escape from nearby towns, as opposition protesters accused them of working for the Muammar Gaddafi regime.
But, it is Black-Africans who have become scapegoats to both the embattled Muammar Gaddafi regime and the anti-government protesters.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed to rescue Nigerians caught up in the uprsing in Libya.
“In furtherance to my directive that Nigerians stranded in Libya be immediately evacuated, I want family and friends of the victims to know that 500 of the 2000 stranded victims have landed in Abuja while the rescue operation will go on until everyone willing to return is brought back safely” President Jonathan said on his Facebook.
Other citizens and workers from poorer nation have also been left to their fate. Reports say Pakistanis, Vietnamese, Thais, Filipinos, Bangladeshis have been abandoned by their construction companies and now crowd the floors of buildings inside the ports.
Tens of thousands of migrants – many from Egypt – are stranded near Libya’s Tunisian border in need of food and shelter, UN officials say. However, expatriated from U.S, Britain, China, Europe and South Korea have left the country and evacuated their citizens and working, living or visiting Libya.
The UN says at least 1,000 people are believed to have been killed in nearly two weeks of violence in which eastern cities cities have fallen to anti-government forces.
Nonetheless, Foreign ministers from around the world are gathering in Geneva to discuss their response to the mounting humanitarian crisis in Libya.
The Libyan revolution has only just entered its second week of turmoil. But tens of thousands of expatriates have already fled the country – spilling over the Egyptian and Tunisian borders, out of Tripoli on chartered evacuation flights, and into the port at Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, which is now under rebel control.