By Lizzie Phelan
February 7, 2012
Doctors and locals report that two of the dead were women and one elderly man. The exact number of injured is unknown although many videos have emerged online and in mainstream western and GCC media of wounded victims.
Inhabitants in the camp in the Janzour area are from the town of Tawergha, whose entire and predominantly Black Libyan population of between 30,000 were forced to flee from relentless attack by NATO and the Misrata rebels.
The attack began when a heavily armed rebel militia from Misrata entered the squalid camp situated in a naval base firing anti-aircraft guns mounted on pick up trucks in the air to scare the inhabitants. This was followed by some of the rebels opening fire on the inhabitants.
Following the attack, Tawerghans took to the streets in protest. This can be seen in this Al Jazeera English video. However, the AJE report omits any mention of the inherent racism of the rebels that has been exposed by their systematic persecution of Black Libyans and migrants from other countries on the continent since the beginning of the crisis in Libya. It also omits that the channel has been at the forefront of aggravating racist attacks as a result of its relentless and unsubstantiated claims of a systematic policy by the Jamahiriyah government of hiring “African mercenaries” – racist terminology in itself which implies a separation between Libyans from Africa, despite that the nation is African.
Reuters reported that Abdelhafid Suleiman, head of the military council of Janzour, claimed that the inhabitants were armed with “sticks and knives”. But locals and doctors have insisted the inhabitants were unarmed and critics have stressed that this accusation contains racist language in line with the well documented racism of the Misrata rebels.
Elsewhere, reports have cited a statement released by locals in Janzour from the Wershafana Tribe pledging to arm the people of Tawergha so that they could defend themselves.