Libya, currently at the forefront of the EU's policy to stop unsanctioned migration into southern Europe, has begun mass forced deportations of Nigerians. In the past 5 days over 600 Nigerians have been flown back to Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
The deportees come mainly from the Zamwia-Zamzu prison in Tripoli and had been move to a camp at Sahba in the centre of the country prior to removal.. According to one migrant, "We were given the option to voluntarily buy our air tickets and return to Nigeria. But some of us who don't have money were given free tickets and deported to Nigeria. Each day since September 1, 2009 the Libyan authorities have been deporting 140 people from Sahba Camp alone."
"We were beaten like animals; treated like outcasts; and condemned to death even before any proper prosecution process could take place. More than 200 of us were packed inside a room like frozen fish," another said.
"We were lucky to be alive. We were beaten, treated like slaves, but we thank God that we were not summarily executed. Many Nigerians have been so killed and as we are talking many will still be killed." The claim that Libya has subjected 'illegal' migrants to summary execution has been denied by the Libyan authorities but rumours are rife amongst the migrants populations and, Libya has a long history of prison brutality and summary executions. Just a month ago at Benghazi prison, 6 Somali detainees were killed and more than 50 others injured in a mass stabbing incident when prison guards armed with batons and knives tried to prevent a mass escape.