Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, has criticised Libya over migrant slave markets, saying the abuses call into question wider African unity.
A furore over the auctions is expected to dominate discussions between African Union and European Union at a two-day summit starting Wednesday in Ivory Coast’s economic capital, Abidjan.
Akufo-Addo condemned the practice in a post on his Twitter account late on Tuesday, calling it “gross and scandalous” abuse of human rights.
But he also said the auctions made “mockeries of the alleged solidarity of African nations grouped in the African Union, of which Libya is a member”.
The AU has called for “urgent measures” to stop the abuse of black Africans in Libya, which critics say has been fuelled by EU-Libyan cooperation to curb migrant crossings to Europe.
The EU for its part said it would pressure the UN-backed government in Libya to prosecute the slave traders and push for improvements in conditions at migrant detention centres.
Akufo-Addo’s criticism came as his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari arrived in Abidjan and said it was appalling that his compatriots were being sold “like goats”.
He vowed to repatriate and rehabilitate all Nigerians stranded in Libya, and reduce the numbers heading for Europe illegally via north Africa, his office said in a statement Wednesday.
One of the men shown in the footage of the slave auctions, which was broadcast by US network CNN on November 14, was said to be Nigerian.
Nigerians are among the nations with the highest number of undocumented migrants trying to make the treacherous crossing to Europe from Libya across the Mediterranean Sea.