Burkina Faso’s foreign minister said on Monday it had recalled its ambassador to Libya over a report that black African migrants were being auctioned as slaves there.
The decision by the West African nation followed the broadcast by CNN of footage of what it said was an auction of men offered to Libyan buyers as farmhands and sold for $400, a chilling echo of the trans-Saharan slave trade of centuries past.
Foreign Minister Alpha Barry announced the decision by President Roch Marc Kabore in a news conference.
“The president of Burkina Faso has decided to recall the ambassador to Tripoli, General Abraham Traore, for a consultation,” Barry said.
He added that he had also “summoned the Libyan charge d‘affairs in (Burkina Faso’s capital) Ouagadougou to express our indignation at these images that belong to other centuries, images of the slave trade”.
African and European leaders are due to meet in Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan next week, where migration and Europe’s efforts to tackle it by co-opting Libya will be high on the agenda.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein said last month that a European and African deal to stem the flow of migrants coming through Libya to Europe had failed to tackle the severe abuses they face.