President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the Libyan slave crisis on the country’s ex-leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The President said this on Tuesday when he welcomed the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community, Ms Louise Mushikiwabo and Rwanda High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb Stanislas Kamanzi at the State House in Abuja.
The Nigerian leader who was speaking today on Africa’s security challenges, said Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for 42-years produced people “whose only skill is how to shoot guns”.
Muammar al-Qaddafi seized control of the Libyan government in 1969 and ruled as an authoritarian dictator before he was overthrown and subsequently killed in 2011.
“Gaddafi’s long rule produced many people, whose only skill is how to shoot guns. Now, they are scattered around the continent, still with their weapons, & fomenting trouble.”
“Gaddafi’s long rule produced many people, whose only skill is how to shoot guns. Now, they are scattered around the continent, still with their weapons, & fomenting trouble.” — Pres @MBuhari speaking today on Africa’s security challenges, while welcoming Rwandan Foreign Minister
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) January 9, 2018
Libya is the main transit point for refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.
In the past three years more than 450,000 migrants have embarked on the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe. For four years in a row, 3,000 refugees have died while attempting the journey, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the U.N.’s migration agency.
The Libyan Coast Guard — supported with funds and resources from the E.U. and more specifically, Italy — has cracked down on boats smuggling refugees and migrants to Europe. With estimates of 400,000 to almost one million people now trapped in Libyan detention centers.
The IOM said in April that it had documented reports of “slave markets” along the migrant routes in the North African nation “tormenting hundreds of young African men bound for Libya.”
“There they become commodities to be bought, sold and discarded when they have no more value,” Lenard Doyle, Director of Media and Communications for the IOM said in the April statement.
Footage and subsequent investigation conducted by CNN in November, 2017, showed men appearing to be sold at auction in Libya for $400.
Leaders of affected nations especially Nigeria, have taken steps to evacuate thousands of migrants stuck in Libyan detention camps.