Zambia’s ambassador flees Libya

The Zambian diplomats who had remained in Libya after other Zambians were evacuated on the weekend have also left that country.

Zambian Ambassador to Libya, Rueben Musakabantu and three other embassy staff had remained in Tripoli to secure embassy property.

But the three got on Kenyan airways commercial flight Wednesday evening and are expected in Zambia at night. It is not clear why they changed the plan to stay on just after a few days.

Libyan demonstrators are accusing Black Africans of being used as mercenaries for  Muammar Gaddafi.

On Monday, Reuters reported that Kenyans and Nigerians fleeing unrest in Libya said on Monday they faced attacks and hostility from Libyan citizens and officials who branded them as mercenaries supporting Muammar Gaddafi’s rule.

A Kenya Airways flight landed in Nairobi with 90 Kenyans on board, and 64 other people from South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo,

Nigeria said it had flown 1,035 of its citizens back to the capital Abuja on two chartered flights on Sunday, with about 1,000 more to follow in the coming days.

“We were being attacked by local people who said that we were mercenaries killing people. Let me say that they did not want to see black people,” Julius Kiluu, a 60-year-old building supervisor who arrived back in Nairobi, told Reuters.

“Our camp was burnt down, and we were assisted by the Kenyan embassy and our company to get to the airport.”

Libya’s former ambassador to India, Ali-al-Essawi, told Reuters last week African mercenaries were being used by Libya to crush protests, prompting some army troops to switch sides to the opposition.

Another Kenyan worker said government officials were confiscating mobile phones, tearing open bags and throwing their contents on to piles at the packed airport in Tripoli.

“When they saw a black person, they immediately saw a mercenary, and if you dared use your telephone in public, it was grabbed and the SIM card removed. If your telephone was cheap you got it back, but if it was expensive it was pocketed,” said Kenyan worker Francis Ndung’u.

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