Al Hisha Many of the Tawerghans stopped briefly in Al Hisha before heading either west towards Tripoli or south to the various towns in the Al Jufrah district. A few families settled there. According to interviews conducted by the Commission, some brigades from the Misrata thuwar arrived on the outskirts of Al Hisha on 13 August 2011and began to shell the town.594 Many Tawerghans fled before the thuwar entered the town. It was reported to the Commission that those who remained in Al Hisha were attacked periodically by Misrata thuwar. On or about 20 September 2011, Misrata thuwar entered Al Hisha and arrested nine Tawerghan men who were then taken to Misrata.595 No grounds were given for their arrest or detention.
Tripoli Most Tawerghans who fled to Tripoli arrived there between 14 and 17 August 2011. The majority settled into a camp for internally displaced people, sometimes referred to as ‘Salahadeen camp’ in Tripoli. Some rented houses or lived with relatives in Tripoli.
Multiple interviews conducted by the Commission indicate that after the fall of Tripoli in late August, armed thuwar from Misrata entered Salahadeen camp where they arrested 85 Tawerghan men and removed them from the camp.596 According to testimonies received, where female relatives of the men tried to prevent the arrests, they were beaten;597 those who were left behind were told to leave the camp immediately.598 Two of those interviewed identified the thuwar responsible as being from the Badr brigade.599 No information was provided to the families of those arrested about the basis for the men’s arrest nor were they told the location to which the men were taken.
The Commission received multiple reports that, in the months which followed Tripoli’s fall, there were arrests of Tawerghans in private residences, at checkpoints in the streets of Tripoli, and during further attacks on Salahadeen camp.
Shortly after the fall of Tripoli, two Tawerghan men reportedly went out of the Salahadeen camp to run errands and were arrested by one of brigades of Misrata thuwar in Tripoli.600 According to the Commission’s interview with a family member, their whereabouts are still unknown. In another interview, the Commission heard that in late August, a Tawerghan man was arrested by a group of armed men from his house in the Souq Al Juma’a area of Tripoli and was taken to Al Hufra prison, an unofficial detention centre.601 He was reportedly held there, without charge, for 56 days during which time he was beaten with electrical cables and wooden sticks.
In late August 2011, armed fighters from a brigade of the Misratan thuwar reportedly entered the house of a Tawerghan family in the Tajoura area of Tripoli where they arrested 27 males, including two minors.602 According to the testimony received, the males were beaten and the families were told “you are black, you are nothing” and “you do not belong to this country, go back to Niger where you belong”. The Commission was informed that the two minors were later released with bruising and swelling apparent on their bodies. It was indicated to the Commission that the family was not informed of the reasons for arrest nor where the men were taken but the family has learned from other Tawerghans who have been released from detention that the men are being held in Misrata.
The Commission received two separate reports of arrests and beatings occurring at a checkpoint in Ghout-al-Ruman where Tawerghan men were removed from vehicles and arrested.603 In one interview, a man who was detained at the checkpoint in October 2011 and then released, his third arrest and detention since August 2011, said he and some 35-40 others were arrested at the checkpoint by the “Shuhuda Tajoura Misrata brigade” and taken to a house in Tajoura where they were held for between 8 and 20 days.604 While there, the interviewee told the Commission, the men were beaten and made to make animal noises and to say that the people of Misrata were their masters.
In early September 2011, a Tawerghan man was reportedly arrested in his house in Tripoli by a Misrata brigade and taken to an unoffocial detention centre at Matiga airport where he saw other Tawerghan men who been tortured, with cigarette burns on their faces and marks on their backs and arms.605 According to an interview conducted by the Commission, two cars carrying a Tawerghan family were stopped in Tripoli in mid-September 2011 and the two men in the cars were told to get out by armed men who identified themselves from the Saadoun Sahili brigade from Misrata.606 The armed men reportedly assured the families that the men would be interrogated for a few hours and released. According to the information received, the men never returned; recently one has been able to contact a family member to say they are in detention in Misrata.
In mid-September 2011, a Tawerghan man was reportedly arrested in his house in Tripoli by armed men in cars with “Badr brigade” painted on the side. The interviewee indicated that no reason was given for the man’s arrest and that his family still do not know his whereabouts.607 In a separate incident, armed men entered the house of a Tawerghan family in mid-September 2011 and arrested six men who lived in the house.608 According to testimony received, the men’s female relatives who tried to prevent the arrests were beaten before the men were taken away to an unknown location. The interviewee indicated that the family then searched hospitals in Tripoli and made a report to the Commission of Missing Persons in Tripoli. Reportedly, the family later received a call from one of the men saying he was being held in Misrata and that the group had been arrested by the Al Burquaan brigade, but they do not know what happened to the other five men. A number of Tawerghan men held in the Al Wahda school, an unofficial detention centre in Misrata,609 had been arrested from the same area in Tripoli by the Al Burquaan brigade.610
The Commission has conducted multiple interviews which indicated that on 10 and/or 11 September 2011, there were a number of distinct attacks on Tawerghans in Tripoli. The Misratan thuwar re-entered Salahadeen camp and arrested between 40-50 Tawerghan men.611 The men were reportedly beaten during the arrest in view of their families and the women were told to leave the camp.612 According to testimonies received, the thuwar presented no arrest warrants and the families were not told of the reasons for the arrest nor where their male relatives were being taken. The Commission was informed that some of the men reached their relatives by telephone and informed them that they are being held in Misrata. One man who was arrested with his cousin at the camp in early September 2011, told the Commission that his cousin was shot in the leg and they were both beaten while being taken to Al Hufra prison in Tripoli where they were beaten with rifle butts on arrival.613
Following the 10/11 September 2011 attack on the Salahadeen camp, Benghazi thuwar moved the Tawerghans to another camp in the former Naval Academy in Janzour, where they are protecting them. Tawerghans have told the Commission that they will not go out into Tripoli for fear of being arrested by Misratan thuwar. According to information received, thuwar from Benghazi were escorting groups of Tawerghans who need to leave the camp, for example, to withdraw money from local banks in Tripoli, in order to protect them from arrest by Misrata thuwar.614
According to interviews conducted, several Tawerghans were stopped while in cars on the streets of Tripoli on 11 and 12 September 2011. One man was reportedly stopped in the Abu Salim area by armed men and taken to a building in Tariq Al-Shat area where he witnessed other Tawerghan men being beaten with cables and given electric shocks before he was transferred to a detention centre in Misrata.615 On approximately the same date, a Tawerghan man was reportedly stopped by armed men while driving his mother-in-law and other relatives to their house in the Ein Zara area of Tripoli.616 The armed men detained the man and kept the car, forcing the women to find their own way home. When the women arrived at their house, armed men allegedly entered and arrested the mothers’s two other sons, one of whom was a 12 year old boy. Her older son was beaten in front of her and both males were detained in an unknown location for four days.
In October 2011, a Tawerghan man and his brother were reportedly taken from their house in the Abu Salim area of Tripoli by uniformed armed men who took them to Misrata where they were held in a shipping container for 17 days where they were badly tortured (see chap. III, sect. D).617
A Tawerghan man told the Commission how he was arrested in Tripoli by thuwar of the “Misrata 17 February brigade” in mid-December 2011, taken to a house and beaten. He was released the next day but his money was taken by the thuwar. He informed the Commission that he was too frightened to go to a hospital for fear of being detained for a fourth time and was treated by Médicins Sans Frontières before moving to an IDP camp.618
Most recently, the Commission noted that on 6 February 2012 there was an attack on a Janzour Naval Academy, home to over 2,000 Tawerghan IDPs, in Tripoli. According to multiple interviews of survivors conducted by the Commission, armed men arrived in 25 vehicles, including pick-up trucks with mounted anti-aircraft guns, their weapons outmatching those of the guards protecting the camp.619 According to eyewitness accounts, the thuwar included brigades from Misrata (Shuhada Misrata and Soukour Misrata). The Commission was also informed that at least one of the vehicles had a “National Army” plate, suggesting that Ministry of Defence personnel were involved.620 A minibus had also been brought into the compound prompting fears that arrests were imminent.621
Eyewitnesses and relatives of those killed told the Commission that the thuwar did not provide any reasons for the raids and began to search houses and fired at random. Two Tawerghans, an old man and a woman, were killed.622 Following these shooting deaths, Tawerghans from the camp began to march towards Palm City, where the United Nations is based, to petition the United Nations to protect the Tawerghans.623 Some of the Tawerghans were armed with sticks and knives.
During this march the Tawerghans came under fire, allegedly from thuwar from Misrata and from Janzour, resulting in the deaths of a further five people, including two boys and a girl, all minors. According to eye-witnesses there was no warning issued before the shooting started. The two boys were reportedly shot on the beach, where they had fled to avoid shooting on the main road.624 The family of one of the adult males who died of his injuries tried to get him to a hospital but was reportedly told by a member of the Misrata thuwar that “he and all Tawerghans deserve to die”.625 An unknown number of people were injured.
Approximately 100 Tawerghans - men, women and children - on the protest sought shelter in a nearby medical clinic and were prevented from leaving by the Misrata thuwar for several hours. Four men were arrested and taken away; their whereabouts remain unknown.626 Several Tawerghans were beaten by the thuwar. Others had their phones taken. Those held at the clinic were insulted by the thuwar, who called them “slaves”.