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Niger Citizens In Libya May Soon Get Special Cards

Panafrican News Agency, 7 December 2000

Tripoli, Libya*#8212;A presidential adviser in Niger, Ali Sidi Adam, Thursday, accused the international press of abusively exaggerating the confrontation between young Libyans and immigrant workers from sub-Saharan African countries which led to many death in Libya in September.

Speaking to PANA at the end of his month-long stay in Libya to assess the condition of his compatriots in the country, the Niger official said he regretted the events of last September.

He did not exclude the exploitation of the incidents by invisible hands trying to sabotage the African Union project as is also believed by Libyan authorities.

I met the community of Niger nationals in Sabha, the capital of Fezzan, in Wadi Al-Hayat, in Mourzuk (south) and in Tripoli. They are faring very well and continue to provide their labour to the Libyan private sector, particularly in the field of agriculture and are not undergoing any form of harassment by the local population, Adam said.

Sidi Adam pointed out that he had discussed with various authorities of the Libyan Ministries of African Unity, Justice and Security about the situation of Niger workers in Libya.

He said talks were underway between the concerned authorities of the two countries that could lead to the issuance of special cards to Niger nationals to enable them live and work in Libya.

He said Niger nationals currently in Libya number between 4,000 and 5,000.

He explained that 2,000 Niger nationals returned home on their own volition during the crisis.

The Presidential adviser rejected allegations that that the crisis had racist or xenophobic connotation.

How can we say such a thing when we know that out of the 5 million inhabitants living in Libya, over 1.4 million are black, he retorted, accusing the international press of putting forward the hypothesis with a view to adding fuel to the fire and aborting the important African Union project.