Immigrant Victims in Libya Point to Precarious Security

Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli Notes Hopes for Better Future

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ROME, SEPT. 9, 2011 ( As Interpol today issued an arrest warrant for the ousted dictator of Libya, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli has said he’s catching «signs of real peacemaking efforts.»

Bishop Giovanni Martinelli spoke with Fides this week about the first days of life in Libya without Muammar Gaddafi.

It is reported that the dictator has fled to Niger or headed to Burkina Faso.

«The developments are difficult to predict,» the bishop said. «I seem to catch, however, the signs of real peacemaking efforts.»

The 69-year-old Franciscan bishop, who has led the Church in Tripoli since 1985, did express concern about the plight of African immigrants in Libya. There have been various reports of violence against them.

«This is a problem that saddens me very much because these poor African immigrants, in one way or the other, are increasingly subject to violence,» the bishop told Fides. «I do not know who is responsible for the violence. (…) The Africans offer an important service to the country, because they do everything. It is true that they have also been exploited as mercenaries, but most of them are employed in civilian jobs, which are indispensable in the new Libya.»

Bishop Martinelli said that the violence was proof of one thing: «What is certain is that these episodes demonstrate that there is no full security in the country. The authorities of transition have however stressed that their priority is security. We will see how this path of reconciliation develops. Hopefully for the better.»

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