The Address | Benghazi – Libya
AL-ZAWIYA – Nigerian migrants detained in Libya were rescued after publishing a video that went viral on social media and caught the attention of authorities.
A group of migrants held inside a detention center in al-Zawiya, west of Tripoli, risked their lives to shoot the video in July, showing poor living conditions and people pleading for help.
“They refuse to deport us,” says a man in the video that was shared over WhatsApp and other social networks. “We are suffering here, we are dying here… they are keeping us here for business.”
The video was sent to France 24 Observers, a citizen journalism initiative, in July.
After seeing the video, the journalists flagged the attention of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which helps organise voluntary returns from Libyan detention camps.
The migrants returned to Nigeria on August 30.
“If not for that video we wouldn’t have been able to come back to Nigeria, I believe that,” Efe Onyeka, a 25-year-old Nigerian who shot the video, told AFP.
Onyeka was arrested trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe where he had dreams of becoming a footballer.
It is noteworthy that Tripoli and its surrounding areas are controlled by militias; some of which are legitimized by the Tripoli-based UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Some of those militias extort illegal migrants under the pretext of helping them cross the Mediterranean to Europe.