French President, Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he would ask European leaders to help evacuate Africans in danger in Lybia after reports appearing to show African migrants being traded there sparked an international outcry.
“I will propose that Africa and Europe come to the rescue of the people trapped in Libya, by bringing massive support to the evacuation of people in danger,” Macron said in a speech in Burkina Faso.
Macron also sought to make a clean break from his predecessors, saying that he came from a generation that would not tell Africans what to do and would focus his efforts on bridging ties between Africa and Europe.
“I am from a generation that doesn’t come to tell Africans what to do,” Macron said during a speech to university students in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou.
“I am from a generation for whom Nelson Mandela’s victory is one of the best political memories.”
Macron is on a three-day visit to West Africa that includes an EU-Africa summit in Ivory Coast’s capital Abidjan.
“I will not stand by those, who say the African continent is one of crises and misery.
“I will be alongside those, who believe that Africa is neither a lost continent nor one that needs to be saved.”
West African migrants were being bought and sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya, survivors had told a UN agency helping them return home.
Libyan authorities have inaugurated a formal investigation into slave auctions in the country following an exclusive CNN report earlier this week, the government said on Friday.
“A high-level committee has been convened encompassing representatives from all the security apparatus to oversee this investigation,’’ Anes Alazabi, an official with the internationally recognised government of Libya’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency said.
“Priorities of the investigation are not only to convict those responsible for these inhumane acts, but also to identify the location of those, who have been sold in order to bring them to safety and return them to their countries of origin.’’