Nigerian migrants return from Libya with tales of horror - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Nigerian migrants return from Libya with tales of horror

(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya disembark from a plane upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, having been repatriat... (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya disembark from a plane upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, having been repatriat...
(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya wait to be registered by officials upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, having be... (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya wait to be registered by officials upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, having be...
(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya disembark from a plane upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, having been repatriat... (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya disembark from a plane upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, having been repatriat...
(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya walk away with luggage after they have been registered by officials upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos Nigeria Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians have re... (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya walk away with luggage after they have been registered by officials upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos Nigeria Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians have re...
(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya wait to be registered by officials upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos Nigeria Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians have returned from Libya, Tuesday, as pa... (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba). Nigerian returnees from Libya wait to be registered by officials upon arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos Nigeria Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Hundreds of Nigerians have returned from Libya, Tuesday, as pa...

By LEKAN OYEKANMI and CARLEY PETESCH
Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Some knelt and placed their foreheads to the ground in prayer. Several carried small children. After being stranded in Libya on a failed attempt to reach Europe, more than 400 Nigerian migrants were brought home and began sharing stories of abuse and fear.

"If they lock you up in a room, you hardly eat, that's number one," Ejike Ernest, one of the returnees, told The Associated Press on arrival late Tuesday in Lagos. "You'll urinate there, you'll defecate there and every morning, let me say three times a day, you will be severely beaten" until you can pay the money to be freed.

Nigeria's government, its president appalled by recent CNN footage of a slave auction in Libya where migrant Africans were "sold like goats," has committed to bringing its citizens home, along with a number of other African nations.

After disembarking from a plane chartered by Nigeria, the European Union and the International Organization for Migration, some of the newest arrivals looked exhausted, some clutching sleepy children. Some were astonished by the way they had been treated.

"It's heartbreaking, especially when I see a 13-year-old come with a baby," said Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to Nigeria's president on diaspora and foreign affairs. "One 14-year-old girl said to us she doesn't know how many men have slept with her, she can't count ... You look at them and wonder whether their lives can ever be the same again."

The African Union and member states will repatriate more than 15,000 migrants stranded in Libya by the end of the year amid outrage over the slave auction footage, the AU's deputy chairman said Tuesday.

Between 400,000 and 700,000 African migrants are in dozens of camps across the chaotic North African country, often under inhumane conditions, AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told a summit of European and African leaders last week.

The AU has a six-week plan to "access all detention centers in Libya and repatriate all those who want to return home," Mahamat said Wednesday on Twitter.

Europe has struggled to stem the flow of tens of thousands of Africans making the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean. But many Africans still make the journey, risking death and abuse, saying high unemployment and climate change leave them little choice.

Another Nigerian recently repatriated told the AP about his ordeal.

"I paid 500,000 naira ($1,600) to one Nigerian called Mr. Fix It in 2016 to facilitate my illegal journey to Europe through Libya across the Mediterranean Sea. But on getting to Libya, he abandoned all of us to our fate," the man said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of fears for his security.

He said he and others were detained by Libyan militia members and kept in a makeshift prison where they were tortured and starved. More than 10 Nigerians, including girls, were sold as slaves. He was lucky to be rescued by security forces, he said, and was repatriated in July.

African and European leaders last week drew up an emergency evacuation plan for migrants, agreeing to airlift at least 3,800 stranded in one of more than 40 detention centers across Libya. Morocco, France, and Germany will provide the air carriers, according to Gambian senior foreign affairs official Ebrima Jobe.

Jobe criticized the "African brothers" who act as middlemen for the smugglers. "Our criminal justice system should without delay initiate the prosecution of all those Africans involved," he said.

Other African countries are now joining in on repatriations, including Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

Amnesty International has criticized Europe, saying its primary aim is to close the Mediterranean route and leave hundreds of thousands of migrants trapped in Libya and facing horrific abuses.

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Director for Europe, said: "Plans which overwhelmingly prioritize the 'voluntary' return of people now stuck in Libya to their country of origin without an effective system for assessing and meeting asylum needs or offering more resettlement places will end up as a mechanism for mass deportation."

___

Petesch reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press writers Hilary Uguru in Warri, Nigeria and Abdoulie John in Banjul, Gambia contributed.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • As Olympics near, South Korea agonizes over post-Games costs

    As Olympics near, South Korea agonizes over post-Games costs

    Thursday, December 14 2017 1:34 AM EST2017-12-14 06:34:44 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 12:56 AM EST2017-12-15 05:56:25 GMT
    As Olympics near, South Korea agonizes over post-games costs and huge financial strain placed on one of its poorest regions.
    As Olympics near, South Korea agonizes over post-games costs and huge financial strain placed on one of its poorest regions.
  • Disney buying much of Fox, will help it compete with Netflix

    Disney buying much of Fox, will help it compete with Netflix

    Thursday, December 14 2017 7:24 AM EST2017-12-14 12:24:47 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 12:27 AM EST2017-12-15 05:27:14 GMT

    Disney is buying a big chunk of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal, gaining U.S. cable channels and a major film studio and growing overseas as it tries to meet competition from technology...

    Disney is buying a big chunk of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal, gaining U.S. cable channels and a major film studio and growing overseas as it tries to meet competition from technology companies.

  • EU nations bicker over migration policy as summit opens

    EU nations bicker over migration policy as summit opens

    Thursday, December 14 2017 4:44 AM EST2017-12-14 09:44:45 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 12:26 AM EST2017-12-15 05:26:00 GMT
    EU leaders are gathering in Brussels set to move Brexit talks into a new phase as pressure mounts on Prime Minister May over her plans to take Britain out of the 28-nation bloc.
    EU leaders are gathering in Brussels set to move Brexit talks into a new phase as pressure mounts on Prime Minister May over her plans to take Britain out of the 28-nation bloc.
  • NationalMore>>

  • FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality'

    FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality'

    Thursday, December 14 2017 1:55 PM EST2017-12-14 18:55:20 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 12:57 AM EST2017-12-15 05:57:46 GMT

    FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' rules that equalized access to the internet.

    FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' rules that equalized access to the internet.

  • Dueling statistics used at hearing on racial bias in stings

    Dueling statistics used at hearing on racial bias in stings

    Thursday, December 14 2017 1:05 AM EST2017-12-14 06:05:00 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 12:57 AM EST2017-12-15 05:57:40 GMT
    (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green File). In this Nov. 25, 2013 file photo, Chief U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo speaks from the bench in Chicago. A question raised nationwide about whether federal agents display racial bias by staging phony stash-h...(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green File). In this Nov. 25, 2013 file photo, Chief U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo speaks from the bench in Chicago. A question raised nationwide about whether federal agents display racial bias by staging phony stash-h...

    The question of whether agents display racial bias by staging phony stash-house stings overwhelmingly in black neighborhoods is the focus of landmark hearings in Chicago.

    The question of whether agents display racial bias by staging phony stash-house stings overwhelmingly in black neighborhoods is the focus of landmark hearings in Chicago.

  • Poll: Most say Trump crossed line with Russia contacts

    Poll: Most say Trump crossed line with Russia contacts

    Thursday, December 14 2017 6:15 PM EST2017-12-14 23:15:26 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 12:57 AM EST2017-12-15 05:57:37 GMT
    A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveals that most Americans think Donald Trump did something wrong regarding his presidential campaign's ties to Russia.
    A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveals that most Americans think Donald Trump did something wrong regarding his presidential campaign's ties to Russia.
Powered by Frankly