John Osifo, one of the 600 migrants rescued on Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea by a humanitarian ship,(pictured above) has told horrendous stories of beatings, arbitrary detention and slavery while in Libya.
Osifo, 29-year-old Nigerian, spent 11 months in Libya.
He said he did not plan to go to Europe, but after a few months working at a car wash, a local man destroyed his passport and work permit, making him an irregular migrant, and he was forced into hard labour.
In Libya “they believe blacks are slaves. That is what they call us. When they want to beat us, they beat us with pipes,” he said, showing a scar on his left hand.
“They take us to jobs, force us to do hard labour without payment … Sometimes they take you to a prison where you’ll be kept and beaten up,” he said, as the Aquarius’s crew served tea and bread to the migrants.
Another rescued migrant, Alseer Issa Ibrahim from Darfur said: “Libya is crazy. They arrest us, the police … They put us in some place … two, three days no eat, no drink. They beat us.
Ibrahim is 28 years old from the Darfur region of Sudan.
Both Ibrahim and Osifo were among the almost 600 people on the Aquarius, a rescue ship operated by Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee, now heading toward an Italian port.