The people of the city of Tawergha, around 40,000 mostly black, fled their hometown in August 2011 as armed militias from Misrata, around 40 km to the west, approached their hometown. It is a legacy of the 19th-century slave trade used as a transit town for slaves. It has been literally emptied of its entire population. They are now refugees in their own country and are scattered around the country in refugee camps with around 15,000 in Hun city. Around 1,200 live in a Turkish construction site in Tripoli, known as al-Falah camp. Others moved to refugee camps in Benghazi and other cities where they are living in appalling conditions.
Flooded Tawerghans al-Falah Camp in Tripoli

They are unable to make proper living and are subject to harassment and arrest every day by the militias of Misrata. Many never came back and are never heard from after they had been taken from their refugee camps. Others have been arrested at check points and even dragged out of hospitals in Tripoli to unknown fate.

These camps suffer from flooding in winter, high unemployment rate, insecurity and crowded makeshift schools and clinics. Electricity is very limited and electrical wirings are not safe and cause fire frequently. Water is also very limited and unclean. Their representative in the government wanted to speak about the Tawerghan camps problems, but he was sent a death threat by the militias of Misrata.
overcrowded Tawerghans al-Falah Camp in Tripoli

Take Saad Mohammed Abdulhafeez, for example. He is now 52 years old and have seven family members. He lives in Sidi Faraj camp in Benghazi. He has a heart problem called "Cardiac Dysrhythmia", diabetes, high blood pressure and liver inflammation.
Saad Mohammed Abdulhafeez in his house in Sidi Faraj refugee camp

One day, he went from his refugee camp in Benghazi to Tripoli to seek specialised medical care. When he arrvied, he went to his sister who was lucky to be able to rent a house in Khallet Alforjan district in Tripoli after she fled Tawergha.
Saad showing scars from torture in his abdomen

He spent the first night with her and the next day in the morning he set off for Tripoli Cardiac hospital and on his way he was stopped at a check point near the base of 32-Brigade by a militia from Misrata. They did not tell him any thing except asking him if he was from Tawergha and when he answered yes, they took him to their base where he was detained for eight days. The first three days he was just beaten continuously. Then, he was tortured with electric shocks, whiped with a leather belt and burnt with a hot metal rod.
Saad showing scars from torture in his back

Saad showing scars from torture in his legs

Later, someone, who seemed to be their leader, came and told the guards to bury him next to his tribe members, and indeed they took him to a place which looked like a graveyard. They put him in an empty hole and covered his body with sand except his head for about two hours. Then, two men came and dug him out of the hole and put him in the hot sun untill the evening. Finally, they took him to a place where he managed to find a water tap and was able to drink and wash himself.
Hours later, someone said to him that he was useless to them and he started cursing him and insulting him telling him that "We are ruling Libya now, and no one can help you out". Fortunately, he later released him along with another person who was also from Tawergha called "Hussein Ashour" and was also tortured a lot before he was finally released.

Tawerghans have been prevented from going back to their hometown by Misrata militias because they accuse them of fighting with Gaddafi during the uprising. They are also accused of committing war crimes in Misrata such as rape and torture. The whole city is still empty and eerie where walls of apartment blocks have been ripped apart by artillery shells and looted by Misrata militias.

However, these accusation of rape and torture are not supported by any evidence, so far. They were only used by Misrata militias to demonize and dehumanize Tawerghans and to justify their genocide and ethnic cleansing crimes against these poor people.

The video below shows the details of the massacre of Tawerghans by Misrata militias.
Even if it was proved that some Tawrghans truly committed crimes such as raping women and torturing Misrata rebel fighters, that does not give Misrata militias the right to prevent them from returning to their hometown. It is a war crime to hold an entire community hostage to crimes committed by a few. This collective punishment must be stopped and Tawarghans must be allowed to return to their homes. However, the puppet government in Tripoli is unwilling to break the veto exercised by the militias of Misrata.

Until now, reconciliation efforts and solutions have been refused by Misrata militias, who apparently think they are still living in the 19th century slavery era, and the puppet Libyan government is still unwilling to find a solution for Tawerghans or even help them improve their living conditions in the refugee camps while the whole world is listening and watching. More information on this genocide is available in the report prepared by Tawergha Foundation.

Last edited: April 27, 2017