For a month, gangs of young gunmen have roamed the city, rousting Libyan blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa from their homes and holding them for interrogation as suspected mercenaries or government spies.
Over the last several days, the opposition has begun rounding up men accused of fighting as mercenaries for Kadafi's militias as government forces pushed toward Benghazi. ...
One young man from Ghana bolted from the prisoners queue. He shouted in English at an American reporter: "I'm not a soldier! I work for a construction company in Benghazi! They took me from my house … "
A guard shoved the prisoner back toward the cells.
"Go back inside!" he ordered.
The guard turned to the reporter and said: "He lies. He's a mercenary." ...
The opposition has acknowledged detaining an unspecified number of sub-Saharan Africans on suspicion of serving as Kadafi mercenaries. Human Rights Watch has described a concerted campaign in which thousands of men have been driven from their homes in eastern Libya and beaten or arrested. ...
One of the accused shown to journalists was Alfusainey Kambi, 53, a disheveled Gambian wearing a bloodstained sport shirt and military fatigue trousers. He said he had been dragged from his home and beaten by three armed men who he said also raped his wife. A dirty bandage covered a wound on his forehead.
Khaled Ben Ali, a volunteer with the opposition council, berated Kambi and accused him of lying. Ali said Kambi hit his head on a wall while trying to escape.
You know, that while-trying-to-escape thing happens a lot.
He commanded the prisoner to comment on his treatment in the detention center. Kambi paused and considered his answer. Finally, he glanced warily up at Ali and spoke. "Nobody beat me here," he said in a faint, weary tone. "I have no problems here."