Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour confirmed today that a group of Sudanese nationals who were kidnapped and tortured by human trafficking gangs in Libya were released from their captors by Libyan authorities late last night.
Minister Ghandour was speaking before the Foreign Relations Committee of the National Assembly to answer a question regarding the Sudanese being subjected to torture in Libya by human trafficking gangs.
In his address to the meeting, Minister Ghandour confirmed the release of the hostages, and the arrest by Libyan authorities of four of the alleged kidnappers. He said the Sudanese government is still waiting for more information on what he called “criminals”.
The minister pointed out that there are currently and estimated 221,500 Sudanese nationals in Libya.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Libyan ambassador to Khartoum and asked him about the detention and torture of Sudanese in Libya and the demand of ransom from their families.
On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ambassador Gariballah El Khidir said in a statement that the ministry had summoned the Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Libya in Khartoum, Ali Muftah El Mahrouq, on the detention of a group of Sudanese citizens inside Libyan territory in harsh conditions, where some of them have been subjected to brutal treatment.
He added that the Director General of the Consular Department, Ambassador Ahmed Mahjoub Shawar, informed him of the ministry's rejection of inhumane and immoral methods of treating the Sudanese citizens.
The Libyan Chargé d'Affaires in Khartoum expressed his deep sadness and apology on behalf of his country for this shameful matter and described it as “nothing like the values and morals of the Libyan people”.
Since Saturday, graphic video footage of the hostages has been shown on social networking sites showing them being beaten and tortured with fire by their captors who forced them to contact their relatives to provide ransom in order to avoid elimination.
The African Union (AU) announced on Sunday that it will investigate recent videos showing Sudanese citizens being tortured in Libya.
“The videos of Sudanese citizens being tortured in Libya are recent and an investigation has been opened” said AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira El Fadil.
The European Union is complicit in the torture of Sudanese migrants, according to Eva Berghmans, policy coordinator for Amnesty International, after the videos were aired in a news bulletin by the Flemish VRT channel this week.
“These atrocious practices where ransom is extorted families in return for the stopping of torture of their kidnapped family members have been documented in many Amnesty reports”, Eva Berghmans told VRT (in Dutch) this week.
“Despite our reports, the European Union continues to provide material, technical, and logistic support to the 'failed state' of Libya, the Libyan coast guard etc. The EU also does not control how its financial support is spent, even though it is known that people are tortured, and people are starving in the Libyan detention centres for refugees. Aid may be sent to Libya but it may not be unconditional. There must be controls in place that people are not tortured. A humane system of asylum must be put in place."
The Belgian press is particularly vigilant after Belgium announced that it will refrain from sending refugees back to Sudan until the end of January, after reports that at least six Sudanese asylum seekers sent back to their homeland have been held and seriously maltreated upon their return.