Feb. 20 / March 20-??, 2012
Feb. 20: This post is a spot for a fertile discussion I'm not following that's popped up in different spots. I don't even want to dig up the video links right now, but Channel 4's Alex Thomson famously visited the Khamis Brigade Yarmouk base some days after rebel victory there, August 28. Before seeing the shed massacre victims, burnt and otherwise, he 'happened upon' a scene of detained black men, acting terrified, crying, sweating. Threatened by rebel thugs as "Gaddafi fighters," they say they fear they'll be killed. Thomson intervened by staying until they were safe, apparently proven innocent by virtue of "their women" hiding nearby, etc.
What I'm hoping is some readers more versed and with a few minutes could re-gather the relevant known video / image /article links first, then provide commentary. This I can maybe read closer finally and respond, and either way pull the highlights of into this post, and delete the duplicate comments elsewhere, some other day.
March 20: Contributors have put this all together for me. Hurriya had the stories and videos, Felix had more, Petri found the location of the "Afromerc base," not far from the Yarmouk mosque dump site, and so on. Comments below until I get it all up here.
Videos: Daily Telegraph shows the arrest:
A rebel fighter from Misrata, Mohammed Ayoun, says the suspects would be taken to a special council set up to deal with suspected mercenaries, and promises for the camera noone would hurt them, silly men, quit crying.
Thomson and Channel 4 show more of the drama after:
More notes here later.
After their release, due to a rebel, or Thomson, or whatever in combination, the media then followed the men farm they were hiding at and saw hundreds of African men and women living in fear.
AP/MSNBC: Gadhafi forces killed detainees, survivors say
On Sunday, in a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, rebels apprehended a dozen black men and accused them of being mercenaries in Gadhafi's army. The detainees were occasionally punched before one of the rebels convinced his comrades the men were just migrant workers.They weren't saved yet.
William Osas, a 32-year-old Nigerian, said he and other Africans had fled to a farm nearby to escape the fighting, and the men were detained while they were looking for food. Reporters from The Associated Press visited the farm and found hundreds of Africans living there, including many women.
Laub_updated 8/28/2011 8:50:38 PM ET
Now the rebels have told them they must get out.
"They told us that we have two days to leave here, and if we don't leave they'll kill us all," he said. "They said that Gadhafi uses blacks and that we are with Gadhafi, but we don't know anything about that."
He said all they want now is to return home.
There's a set of photos by Sergei Ponomarev and Giulio Petrocco, which can't be linked to individually. These show African migrants, women and men, looking on, packing up, lining up, as if leaving. They've been "asked to leave," pretty please, or die. One image shown elsewhere shows an armed guard waiting for the mercenaries to pack. Many other photos are mentioned and linked below.
Petri found an area he's sure is the one shown in photos. I agree it's at least an uncanny match in the area. Here's the spot.
It's about a kilometer south and west of the Yarmouk mosque dump site, where 22 executed black men were found on August 26, dead for a few days and bloated. Their bodies were later burned by rebels and removed, presumably to be called unrecognizable Libyan detainees, who will be recognized by light-skinned family.
It seems perhaps the occupants didn't leave even by the end of the month, and stayed alive there until a week later.
UN OCHR (Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Report no 55, 8 September 2011
More than 200 third country nationals were evicted on 4 September from a farm in the Salah ad-Din area in Tripoli. They were subsequently relocated to a nearby industrial site, where they were confronted on 5 September by members of the local community who did not agree to their presence in the neighbourhood. Around half the group was transferred to a facility near Mitiga, and others have gone to the port. The Protection Cluster is monitoring the situation.It's not certain the uncertain number remained the same. SOme of these people could have been shaved off with no one but the mercenaries knowing.
Is Human Rights Watch, Sept. 4, referring to the same farm?
The de facto authorities in Tripoli, the National Transitional Council (NTC), should stop the arbitrary arrests and abuse of African migrant workers and black Libyans assumed to be mercenaries
Human Rights Watch has not found evidence of killings of Africans in Tripoli or systematic abuse of detainees
In Tripoli Human Rights Watch has found evidence that the Gaddafi government recruited and used African mercenaries from Chad, Sudan, and other countries. Human Rights Watch researchers located a large base used by hundreds of mercenaries from other African countries since February 2011, who were recruited and commanded by the 32nd Brigade of Khamis Gaddafi.