The United Nations (UN) has warned that up to100,000 African migrants may seek to escape strife-torn Libya and cross into poverty-stricken Niger in the next few weeks, fearing they may be killed by anti-Gaddafi Libyans who believe they are mercenaries.
At least two black Africans have reportedly been lynched in the city of Benghazi on suspicions of being mercenaries hired by Gaddafi to murder anti-government protesters.
The UN stated that more than 1,000 Africans have already entered Niger over the past week through the Dirkou border post. According to Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), these arrivals said that many of their compatriots who remained behind in Libya are hiding in fear for their lives.
They have reported that many are blocked in houses with no chance of leaving and with no help, in Mursuk, Sabah, Misrata, Tripoli and Benghazi, a report from the agency said.
Moreover, such a sudden influx of people would place a tremendous strain on a country (Niger) that is already burdened by overwhelming poverty.
The movement of humanity southward could match the scale in the northward, where hundreds of thousands of mostly Arab migrants have fled into Tunisia.
Separately, the anti-Gaddafi National Libyan Council in Benghazi said it believes Niger, Mali and Kenya are sending troops to support Gaddafi.
The Council spokesman Hafiz Ghoga urged the UN to bomb the African mercenaries of Ghaddafi.
Ghoga has also advocated the murder of “African mercenaries”
U.N. officials are alarmed by these developments, fearing these accusations will incite even more violence against black African workers in parts of Libya controlled by the rebels. The agency added thatit would be unlikely for these African governments to be sending mercenaries to Libya now. Ghoga also said there was also strong evidence that the government of Algeria was supporting this alleged African offensive against the people of Libya.