African Union calls for ‘slave market’ probe

(From L) Rwanda's president Paul Kagame, Senegal's president Macky Sall, Mali's president Ibrahima Boubacar Keita and president of the Commission of African Union (AU) Moussa Faki Mahamat attend the opening of the 4th Summit on Peace and Security on November 13, 2017 in Dakar. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2017
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African Union calls for ‘slave market’ probe

DAKAR: The African Union (AU) on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate “slave markets” of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men.
The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.
Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also chairman of the AU, demanded an inquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade... from another era.”
Meanwhile, Senegal’s government commenting on Facebook, expressed “outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,” which constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity.”
African migrants from nations including Guinea and Senegal but also Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia make the dangerous crossing through the Sahara to Libya with hopes of making it over the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
But testimony collected by AFP in recent years has revealed a litany of rights abuses at the hands of gangmasters, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces, while many end up stuck in the unstable North African nation for years.
More than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, which is also amassing evidence of slavery.
Conde further appealed for the Libyan authorities to “reassess migrants’ detention conditions” following revelations over squalid jails and detention centers that await migrants who are caught trying to reach the coast.
“These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal,” Conde added.
Libya has opened an investigation into the practice, CNN reported Friday, and pledged to return those taken as slaves to their country of origin.


Anti-India clashes, gunbattle erupt in Kashmir’s main city

Updated 2 min 14 sec ago
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Anti-India clashes, gunbattle erupt in Kashmir’s main city

  • The exchange of gunfire lasted for about half an hour
  • Police refused to give any information about casualties on either side
SRINAGAR, India: Anti-India protests and clashes erupted in the main city of disputed Kashmir on Wednesday shortly after a gunbattle raged between militants and government forces.
The gunbattle began early Wednesday after troops cordoned off a neighborhood in Srinagar on a tip that some rebels were present in a civilian home, police said. The exchange of gunfire lasted for about half an hour, police said but refused to give any information about casualties on either side.
Residents said they also heard loud explosions during the fighting.
As the news of the fighting spread, anti-India protests and clashes erupted in several places in downtown Srinagar. Demonstrators tried to reach the site of the standoff and threw stones at police and paramilitary soldiers in solidarity with rebels.
Government forces fired tear gas to stop the protesters. There were no reports of injuries.
Authorities limited communications, including Internet on mobile phones, as is routine during such fighting to make organizing anti-India protests difficult.
Clashes between government troops and residents had occurred during the day Tuesday during the last phase of local council elections that had low turnout in Muslim-dominated areas. Separatists and armed rebel groups had called for a boycott, viewing the polls as an illegitimate exercise under military occupation.
India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim it in its entirety.
Most Kashmiris support rebel demands that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control. In recent years, mainly young Kashmiris have displayed open solidarity with the rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during military operations.
Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.